New state partnership to help protect underserved communities from scammers


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Throughout the pandemic, scammers have used phishing emails and illegal robocalls to try to take advantage of consumers’ fears as the virus spread. Often times, they target low-income families.

A new state partnership hopes to provide protection.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said today’s announcement is important because it reflects a recognition that he characterized as “long overdue.”

The Department of Consumer Protection and the Federal Trade Commission are encouraging the state’s legal aid organizations to join the FTC’s new community advocate center initiative. The goal is to prevent fraud targeting underserved communities.

“To have a place where they can go safely, and to report that they are victims of a consumer scam, or fraud or abuse. And to get somebody to pay attention to them and do something to help them,” said Connecticut Attorney General William Tong.

“Being underserved unfortunately often means underreporting and underenforcement,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “And that’s why the Community Advocate Centers are going to be so important in supporting the activities of law enforcement.”

Sen. Blumenthal reiterated that underserved communities are underserved because they are under-protected, but that doesn’t mean they are under-scammed.

Blumenthal said he has asked for $150 million more from the federal government, saying that is the “minimum” needed for the consumer protection agency to do its job.

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