RALEIGH, N.C. — Scams may be nothing new, but they're still bothersome. At the very least, a scam is annoying. At worst, it can be life-altering and damaging for years to come.
The North Carolina Department of Justice, under the direction of Attorney General Josh Stein, is tasked with investigating consumer complaints reported to his office. In a statement released Tuesday, Stein said the NCDOJ received more than 28,000 scam complaints from people across the Tar Heel State in 2021 and was able to win back more than $2.1 billion in court judgments and settlements on behalf of North Carolinians. Stein's Medicaid Investigations Division also was able to recover more than $105 million in restitution and penalties tied to Medicaid fraud cases.
“The progress we’ve made to keep people safe, protect our communities, and defend consumers is only possible because of the dedication of the talented public servants in every division and department. It’s an honor to work with them in these challenging times, and I’m ever grateful for their commitment to North Carolinians," said Stein in a released statement.
But here's the real question: what's the breakdown on scams that were reported last year? Perhaps not surprisingly, the top category was telemarketing and robocall scams. But what's really eye-raising is that those calls made up almost half of the 28,043 complaints reported to the NCDOJ; just more than 10,000 consumer complaints involved telemarketing and robocall reports. Meanwhile, the second most-reported scams involved utilities, but the more than 1,900 complaints in that category trail far behind the top spot.
The full breakdown of the top 10 scams reported last year follows in the list below:
- Telemarketing and robocalls - 10,011 complaints
- Utilities - 1,949
- Credit - 1,648
- Motor vehicles - 1,363
- Price gouging - 1,353
- Elder fraud - 1,068
- Landlord or tenant scams - 1,028
- Home improvement - 861
- Insurance - 616
- Professional services - 605