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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: When I read the letter from "Lost in the Desert," the elderly woman who had been taken to the cleaners by slick telemarketers and was afraid to tell her husband, I was saddened. I would like to offer her, and others like her, some hope.

I recently attended the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) Winter Meeting, which had as one of its themes, "Educating Elder Consumers About the Dangers of Telemarketing Fraud: Don't Fall for a Telephone Line."

Attorneys general throughout the country are aware of the problem and have worked together to convict fraudulent telemarketers. NAAG was one of the moving forces behind the recent passage of a federal law that allows states to prosecute telemarketers who call across state lines.

The New Mexico attorney general's office, like many other state's attorneys' offices, has a Consumer Protection Division that can use the force of the law to recover the money gained through deceptive telemarketing scams. Our own office, in a state with a population of about 1.5 million, has recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars for victims of telemarketing scams.

People who have been taken advantage of by telemarketers should contact their state attorney general's office to find out where they can go for recourse. I would also like to encourage them to remember that it's never too late to be a savvy consumer. -- TOM UDALL, ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE OF NEW MEXICO

DEAR MR. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Thank you for some very useful information. I'm sure it will be of interest to many readers to know that they have recourse if they have been taken advantage of by unscrupulous telemarketers.

DEAR ABBY: This letter is in response to "Needing More in Minneapolis," who wrote concerning a new man in her life who apparently has all the qualities she desires except that he is a "lousy lover."

I would like to know the definition of a lousy lover. Does it involve physical attributes, technique, holding and caressing, or other things perhaps better left unmentioned in polite circles? I realize that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, but does the definition of a lousy lover lie in the mind of the recipient? Most women I ask about this subject politely avoid answering the question, but I'm sure it is a frequent topic of conversation during "girl talk."

Abby, please ask your female readers to respond to this subject. Perhaps their responses can be reduced to a definition of what a lousy (or great) lover really is. I'm sure that many men who read your column will benefit from their responses. -- EDWARD G. GRIER JR., SAN DIEGO

DEAR MR. GRIER: I can't speak for my female readers, but my definition of a lousy lover (male or female) would be one who is hurried, selfish and inconsiderate. Readers?

DEAR ABBY: I enjoyed your recent column from "No Name or Town, Please" concerning his talkative wife and her friend.

It reminded me of the story about a man who had not spoken to his wife in 12 years. Finally, a friend asked him why.

He replied, "Because I hate to interrupt people." -- DICK QUINN IN LA JOLLA, CALIF.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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