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.