On behalf of Wolf Popper LLP
Consumer fraud is a very common occurrence here in New York. One of the jobs of the Attorney General is to protect consumers who have been harmed by consumer fraud and to alert the public to common consumer fraud schemes so that people can take greater care to protect themselves. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently released a list of the most common fraud complaints his office received in 2016.
At the top of the list were internet-related fraud schemes, followed by automobile-related fraud, consumer services fraud, leasing disputes, utilities fraud, credit fraud, retail fraud, home repair and construction fraud, mortgage fraud and mail order fraud. Student loan debt reduction or elimination schemes are also quite common.
When a consumer believes he or she has been harmed by a consumer fraud scheme, whether through deceptive acts or practices or false advertising, notifying the Attorney General is one step that can be taken to address the matter. Under state law, the Attorney General has standing to sue businesses that engage in such practices. The Attorney General is not the only person who has legal standing to bring such a lawsuit, though. Anybody who has been injured by consumer fraud can bring a private action in his or her own name.
Those who choose to bring an enforcement action in their own name should always work with an experienced attorney to build the strongest case and to effectively navigate the legal process. A skilled attorney will be able to effectively advocate for a consumer and provide the best possible opportunity for a favorable outcome in their case.
amny.com, "New York fraud complaints topped by internet scams in 2016, AG says," Alison Fox, March 5, 2017.