Press Release

Alaska Received Several Thousand Spanish-Language Consumer Protection Brochures at No Cost to Taxpayers

October 11, 2006

(Anchorage) – Attorney General David Márquez announced today that the Department of Law, Consumer Protection Unit has received several thousand consumer protection brochures designed to combat scams that target Latino communities. Printed in Spanish, the brochures are the product of a cooperative effort of Attorneys General Offices nationwide.

The idea for the brochures was developed by a group of Attorney General Public Information Officers working through the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG). The funding was obtained through a consumer protection grant fund established in a 1997 settlement between the State of Massachusetts and Sears-Roebuck. This "Sears Fund" grant financed the production and distribution of 300,000 of these brochures nationwide.

Entitled "Fraud in Your Home," "Fraud in Your Wallet," and "Fraud in Your Car," each of the three contain general information for consumers. The focus is on commonly reported scams, including home repair, telecommunications fraud and auto sales. In addition, the brochures focus on scams that specifically target Latinos, such as sale of fraudulent international driver's licenses.

"Alaska has a large Latino community and I am pleased that we can extend our consumer protection outreach to this important segment of our state's population," said Márquez. "I want to send a special thanks to Mark Morones, the Special Assistant for Communications for the Department of Law, who served on the panel of public information officers that worked with NAAG to obtain this grant and make available this new educational resource for the State of Alaska."

The brochures are being distributed to 41 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. As part of the same grant, NAAG is developing additional educational materials to be made available through the Internet in the coming months.

The brochures will be available in the three state attorney general offices in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau. To contact the Consumer Protection Unit, please call 888-576-2529. If you are in Anchorage, call 269-5200.

Since 1998, the Sears Fund has issued more than $ 2 million in grants. A total of $5 million has been set aside for the fund.

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