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‘Tis the Season…For Fraud – What You Need To Know

Contact Attorney Jason Chan

Attorney Jason Chan

267 North Beacon Street, Suite 3
Boston MA 01235

Phone: 781-343-1DUI (781-343-1384)
Fax: 617-226-7986

This holiday season, if you are offered a deal that looks to good to be true, and then it probably is.

As many of us are out and about rushing to get gifts for our loved ones, be careful not to become a victim of fraud. By the time Scott Jacobson realized he had been ripped off, it was too late. Don’t let the same thing happen to you.

Jacobson was at a Dundalk gas station when a man approached him selling what looked like a brand new iPads for $200. The man offered Mr. Jacobson a new iPad, but when Mr. Jacobson told him he had no money, the man quickly lowered his price to $100 dollars. Later that day, when Mr. Jacobson opened the iPad, it was a marble tile. Mr. Jacobson remarks that he realized that the iPad may have been a fake, however, he was eager to check off another item off his Christmas list.

Mr. Jacobson was hoping to save a buck, but instead lost $200 dollars. Experts at the Better Business Bureau say they haven’t heard much about on-the-street scams like this but say they are just another thing for consumers to look out for this holiday season.  Now more than ever, it is easy for anyone to steal images off the Internet and trick people into buying fake objects.

In Massachusetts, the Attorney General’s Office assists consumers who have been victims of fraud, deception, and unfair business practices. Many people and businesses are unaware of the rights and responsibilities that arise from the Massachusetts Consumer Protection law, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A. The statute provides protection for consumers from “unfair or deceptive practices” by businesses or other parties. Like most legal questions, “unfair” and “deceptive” are broadly defined to ensure that it protects the most consumers. Fraud, deception and unfair methods of competition also violate Chapter 93A. The statute protects any individual who is injured, however, the rules differ for individuals and businesses.

If you are a victim of consumer fraud, you may sue under section 9 of chapter 93a. As an injured party, you must be able to demonstrate your claim:

(1) file a detailed 30-day many letter,

(2) That you are a consumer plaintiff (an individual who engages in commerce for personal purposes)

(3) The defendant’s action were unfair or deceptive, and that

(4) These actions resulted in a “loss of money or property, real or personal” to that consumer.”

Tips to protect you this holiday season:

  1. Use credit cards to make purchases. In case you are scammed, a credit card can provide an extra layer of security and possibly help you trace back your money.

  2. Use your judgment. If you are approached by a stranger to purchase an item outside of the store, and the price is significantly marked down, chances are it’s a fake.

  3. If you cannot make it to the stores – try to shop on websites you trust, especially for big-ticket items. Buying directly from big name brands online will provide you a warranty in itself in case something goes wrong.

  4. Make sure to only purchase items from an authorized dealer and that there is a return policy. A return policy can be a good indicator that a seller is willing to stand by the products they sell.

Be a savvy spender this holiday season, but remain alert. While it is always nice to save money, consider where you plan to make your purchases to help ensure that you do not become a victim of fraud.

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