Protecting Kansas consumers from scams, telemarketing fraud and other deceptive practices is a priority for our office. The Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office exists to help Kansas residents whether they have suspicious charges on their phone bill or think they’ve been the victim of identity theft. The Consumer Protection Division investigates scams and mediates and prosecutes violations of the Consumer Protection Act, Kansas False Claims Act, No-Call Act and others.
Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division Statistics 4,383 in 2013 4,550 in 2012 6,703 in 2011 $49,611,578 in 2013 $49,256,005 in 2012 $10,359,202 in 2011 ComplaintsRecoveries & Savings
Identity Theft: The Statistics According to the Bureau of Justice 2013 Report: An estimated 16.6 million people experienced at least once incident of identity theft in 2012 Financial losses due to personal identity theft total $24.7 billion per year
Identity Theft: The Statistics According to the National Criminal Justice Reference Service: The most common types of identity theft are government documents/benefits fraud, credit card fraud and phone or utility fraud. Victims of identity theft/fraud spend an average of 9 hours resolving the issue
How Does Identity Theft Hurt Victims? Denial of Medical Coverage Tax Problems (Unreported Income – Stolen Tax Refund) Garnishment of Wages Lawsuits – Default Judgments Arrests Time and Expense
How Does Identity Theft Hurt Victims? Direct Financial Loss Denial of Credit (Mortgage-Car/Student Loans) Denial of Employment Denial of Housing Denial of Public Benefits Denial of Driver’s License
Old Fashioned Way Lost or Stolen Wallets Theft by: Family and Friends - Care Providers - Tax Preparers and Financial Advisors Dumpster Diving Stolen Mail Buying it From Corrupt Employees
New High-Tech Identity Theft Skimming (restaurants- gas stations) Data Breaches Phishing Keystroke Loggers and Malicious Code Peer to Peer File Sharing Social Networking
Mobile Risks Downloading of Apps Use of Unsecure WiFi Hotspots Unsecure Data Transfers and Storage Lost or Stolen Smartphones Improper Disposal of Old Phones
Two Types of ID Theft Law K.S.A. § 21-6107 Identity Theft Identity Fraud Criminal Penalties Sentencing Range Aggravating Factors Wayne Owen Law K.S.A. § 50-6,139 Kansas Consumer Protection Act Civil Penalties Private Remedies Criminal Civil
Kansas Identity Theft Law: Criminal K.S.A. § 21-6107 What is identity theft? The act of obtaining, possessing, transferring, using, selling or purchasing any personal identifying information, or document containing the same, that belongs to or was issued to another person; and Intent to defraud that person, or anyone else, to receive a benefit; or misrepresent that person in order to subject that person to economic or bodily harm.
Personal Identifying Information K.S.A. § 21-6107 Includes: name, birthdate, address, phone number, driver’s license number, social security card or number, place of employment, and financial account numbers
What is Identity Fraud? K.S.A. § 21-6107 Using or supplying information the person knows to be false to obtain a document containing any personal identifying information; or Altering, amending, counterfeiting, making, manufacturing or otherwise replicating any document containing personal information with intent to deceive
Criminal Penalties K.S.A. § 21-6107 Identity theft is a: Severity level 8, nonperson felony; and Severity level 5, nonperson felony if the monetary loss to the victim(s) is over $100,000 Identity fraud is a severity level 8, nonperson felony
Ignorance Is No Defense K.S.A. § 21-6107(d) It is not a defense that the person did not know that the personal identifying information belongs to another person or that the person to whom the information belongs is deceased.
Statute of Limitations The statue of limitations for ID theft is five years. K.S.A. 21-5107(d). Because identity theft can be “not a single act but a continuous course of criminal conduct,” the Court has held that the limitation period does not necessarily begin to run when the first offense is committed, but rather when the identity is last used to gain a benefit. State v. Meza, 38 Kan. App. 2d at 251.
Kansas Consumer Protection Act K.S.A. 50-623, et seq. Deceptive Business Practices Unconscionable Acts Identity Theft & Security Breaches No Call Act
The Wayne Owen Law K.S.A. § 50-6,139 Identity theft or fraud, as defined by K.S.A. § 21- 6107 is an unconscionable act or practice in violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection Act (KCPA). Violation of this law shall subject the perpetrator to the remedies and penalties in the KCPA. Under this law, proof of a consumer transaction is not required.
Civil Penalties K.S.A. § 50-636 The Attorney General can bring action for up to $10,000 for each violation of the KCPA. Any supplier who willfully violates the terms of any court order issued pursuant to the KCPA shall pay a civil penalty up to $20,000 per violation. The Attorney General can also sue for and collect reasonable expenses and investigation fees.
Private Remedies K.S.A. § 50-634 A consumer who has been the victim of a KCPA violation may bring action to: Obtain declaratory judgment Get a restraining order against a supplier who has violated, is violating or is likely to violate the act Recover damages
Preventing ID Theft Common Sense Go to www.InYourCornerKansas.org
Overpayment and Fake Check Scams In this scam, fraudsters target consumers buying or selling a product. They “accidentally” send you a check for more than they owe you. They ask you to deposit the check into your account and wire them the difference. By the time the original check turns out to be a fake and bounces, the fraudster is long gone and the victim is left on the hook for the fraudulent check.
The Grandparent Scam Scammers make up a fake emergency and pretend they’re you (I’ve been arrested, I’m in the hospital). They then target your friends and family for help and money. Don’t believe everything you hear! Make sure to verify the emergency situation before you give any money.
You’re Hired: Employment Scams These scams start with an offer that’s too good to be true- work from home, earn thousands of dollars next week, etc. Beware of anyone who insists on only interviewing you over the phone, who wants you to wire money for start up supplies or asks you to fill out an online form with personal information like your social security number or bank information.
Phishing Scams “Phishing” is when you get an email telling you that you’ve won a contest or that a company needs to verify your personal information. The emails can look very real. However, once you click the link it downloads a virus to your computer to get your personal information. Legitimate companies will not ask you to verify your information this way.
You’ve Won! Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams These scammers call people and tell them they’ve won the lottery, sweepstakes or a large monetary prize. But there’s a catch: they ask the victim to wire them money for “processing fees” or taxes. By the time the victim realizes they didn’t win anything, the scammer and their money are long gone.
Home Improvement Scams These scammers will leave your home in a worse condition than they found it. Beware of roofers, pavers and other contractors who come to your door promising a good deal to repair your home. Before paying any money or having any work done, make sure the contractor is in compliance with all state and local laws. Check our website for more information on making sure you’re dealing with a reputable contractor.
Tax Refund Scam In 2013, the IRS issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds. Criminals are using people’s personal information to file a fraudulent tax return and pocket the money. What to look for: Never give out your social security or birth date over the phone or internet Be wary from correspondence from someone claiming to be from the IRS. The IRS will never ask for personal information via email or phone
Arrest Warrant or Deportation Scam With this scam, fraudsters pretending to be law enforcement or the IRS call, email or send a letter to people trying to convince them that unless they pay a fee, they will be arrested or deported. At least two Kansas residents have been targeted by this kind of scam; one Sedgwick County resident lost $9,000. Don’t be fooled; law enforcement would never serve a valid warrant over the phone or by email. Neither law enforcement or the IRS would ever ask for bank account numbers or personal information over the phone.
Too Good to Be True: Sales Scams If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Don’t be fooled by high pressure scare tactics, “free” items, prices that seem too low or “limited time offers.” Scammers use the internet, phone and mail to talk people into buying bogus products by promising them to lose weight quickly, look 10 years younger, get rid of debt, etc.
Who Gets Scammed? While anyone can find themselves as the victim of a scam or fraud, there are certain things that make a victim more attractive to scammers 1 : Consumers who are easily persuaded Consumers who don’t take preventive actions to protect themselves from fraud Consumers who expose themselves to many sales situations
How You Can Protect Yourself Trust your judgment. If something seems off, or like it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Always protect your personal information. Use preventative measures like the Do Not Call List, check references for businesses before hiring them and use the resources on our website when researching a company or opportunity. Be skeptical. Do your own research before you sign up for anything or make a payment.