Attorney General Tom Horne

Attorney General Tom Horne talks to a group of more than 200 residents on ways to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.

Randy Metcalf/The Explorer

Alongside the Oro Valley Police Department, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and his office are cracking down on the growing problem of fraud against the state’s senior citizens and veterans.

At the Sun City Hall Hopi Room on Dec. 7, Horne spoke to a crowd of nearly 200 Oro Valley residents, many of which had been recent victims of fraud or exploitation.

Horne recognized their efforts in leading the state’s fight against fraud by actively participating in events that will allow them to educate others of existing scams.

The increasing number and variety of fraud cases reiterates the importance of citizens to use their best judgement when dealing with private information and transacting with businesses.

Horne addressed a number of the most recent scams that threaten the privacy of Arizonans. With the approaching holiday, Horne warned of fallacious websites that carry no inventory, and exist only to gain the consumer’s personal information.

He suggested using only websites that incorporate “https” and a padlock image in the browser bar.

Additionally, Horne mentioned the importance of protecting passwords, social security numbers, personal information, and recommended closely monitoring credit information and banking records for suspicious activity.

Horne’s office has already helped prevent several fraudulent business practices in the state, including auto shops and air conditioning companies that have charged consumers for products that were not in need of repair.

Horne has taken action against such businesses by initiating lawsuits to fine them or put them out of business completely. As the only Attorney General’s Office in the country to receive a Department of Justice grant to prevent identity theft, Horne and his team have created new programs that will serve to protect consumers and make crimes easier to report.

TASA, or the Taskforce Against Senior Abuse, is a phone line that has been made to protect seniors against a wide range of abuse including, but not limited to, fraud.

Seniors that are being abused financially, physically, emotionally, or otherwise, are encouraged to call the hotline at 602-542-2124. The line has already received 1,100 calls since its recent implementation.

The second program, CAMO, is a veterans outreach taskforce program that works in conjunction with the Military Veterans Foundation to smoothly transition veterans returning home from overseas.

Noting that 14% of returning veterans will become victims of identity theft, the taskforce will help protect these soldiers, while addressing issues like housing and benefits.

Horne took a moment to recognize the Oro Valley Police Department for its role in preventing consumer abuse, and handed out certificates to Police Chief Daniel Sharp, Sergeant Amy Graham, and Lieutenant Kara Riley.

Following their recognition, the public was encouraged to share their experiences as victims of fraud. The topics of discussion included undesired telephone solicitations, unlicensed workers offering housework, and technologi

cal flaws which made financial information easily accessible to scammers. While the cases themselves differed, the consensus of those who spoke shared a similar view: the Oro Valley Police Department and Arizona Attorney General’s Office had dealt with issues of fraud in an efficient and effective manner.

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