National Consumer Protection Week.

In celebration of the National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 1 to March 7, 2020, the Regulatory Commission of Alaska’s (RCA) Consumer Protection & Information Section and its NCPW partners would like Alaskans to remember to be on their guard against various fraud and scams. 

Share the following information to your colleagues, friends, family, and neighbors. Word of mouth is powerful!

AARP SLAM THE SCAM Webinar:   March 5, 2020, 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Join AARP’s Slam the Scam Webinar and hear from the Federal Trade Commission for some commonly impersonated government agencies: Medicare, the Internal Revenue Service, the Census Bureau, and the Social Security Administration (SSA).   Click on this external link to register for the webinar: AARP Fraud Watch Network.

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION'S Facebook Live: March 5, 2020, 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  Join the SSA's Office of the Inspector General and learn how to spot and avoid SSA scams.

FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION:  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) protects consumers and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education without unduly burdening legitimate business activity. See Most Recent Scam Alerts.
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.  The FCC's Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau develops and implements the FCC's consumer policies, including disability access.  The bureau serves as the public face of the FCC through outreach and education, as well as through its consumer center, which is responsible for responding to consumer inquiries and complaints.  See Robocalls and Other Telephone Scams and video on Spoofing Scams.


Alaska Department of Law:  The Consumer Protection Unit of the Attorney General’s Office investigates unfair or deceptive business practices and files legal actions on behalf of the State of Alaska to stop such practices.  The Consumer Protection Unit also engages in informal mediation of consumer complaints, educates the public about consumer issues, proposes legislation and regulations regarding trade and business practices, enforces antitrust laws, and registers telemarketers, charitable organizations, paid solicitors, and sellers of business opportunities.  See News & Alerts.

Alaska Division of Banking and Securities:  The division regulates state depository and non-depository financial institutions, administers and enforces Alaska’s financial services laws, and provides information to consumers, investors, entrepreneurs, and the financial services industry.  The division includes three sections that administer 12 statutory programs.  In addition to licensing, examination, and enforcement duties, division staff answer inquiries, investigates and resolve complaints, and contribute to education and outreach activities.  The division is also part of the North American Securities Association (NASAA), which issued the 2019 Top Five Investor Threats.

Alaska Medicare Information Office: The Medicare Information Office provides tips on how to spot and report Medicare errors, waste, and fraud.  Staff also offers classes and one-on-one counseling to Medicare beneficiaries and their families.  

Better Business Bureau: The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently released a report on how scams are being perpetrated, who is being targeted, and which scams have the greatest impact. Check out BBB's 2019 Scam Tracker Risk Report. 


Great Deal on Your Cable?  Could be a Trick. The Better Business Bureau is getting reports of scammers impersonating cable company representatives. Con artists claim to offer a great deal on your service, but it’s really a way to trick unsuspecting customers into shelling out hundreds of dollars for nothing.

Refund Ruse.  Scammers will claim you overpaid on your utility bill and will request personal bank account information to refund your money.

Vacate Your Home.  Scammers will request you leave your home for them to install meters or other equipment, leaving your property vacant and susceptible to easy break-ins.

Power Restoration Fee.  In the aftermath of severe storms, scammers will offer to restore your power more quickly for a fee.

Online Bill Pay and Text.  Unexpected emails or texts containing mock links to online bills.  If you click on the link, it can make your mobile device or desktop computer vulnerable to viruses.  Scammers use malware to steal personal information, send spam, and commit fraud.

Social media posts are telling customers that a charity will pay for their utility bills if the customer makes a partial payment by money transfer.  According to United Utilities against Scams (UUAS) this new scam is still under investigation by authorities, and it is unclear if the scammers are seeking money, personal identifiable information, or both.

Homeowners and businesses should also be on their guard from imposters claiming to be representatives from the RCA.  While the RCA regulates public utilities in Alaska, the RCA does not - and will never - collect utility payments from customers.  Contact your utility company at the phone number shown on your utility bill if you suspect a fraudulent phone call, text, email, or mail.

Date Issued: 2/28/2020