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Welcome to the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection (OCP), we are the agency responsible for enforcing
consumer protection laws  (Chapter 11 of the County code) which  prohibit unfair and deceptive business acts to ensure a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses.  Our office was established in 1971 and we are proud to have earned national recognition.

Our investigators have expertise in many types of consumer transactions.  We investigate and resolve consumer complaints, engage in consumer education and outreach, license certain businesses, and administer several programs.  OCP's dedicated staff is here to be of service to you. We publish an Office Brochure and an Annual Report which describe our commitment to being a responsive and accountable County Government Office.

Eric Friedman
Director
ConsumerProtection@montgomerycountymd.gov

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Alerts logo Recent Scams and Alerts

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Recent Scams & Alerts


The OCP would like to alert residents to the following, some of which are reported by you, our consumer Scambusters:

Restaurant Delivery Order Fees:
OCP issued a
Press Release highlighting Washington Consumers' Checkbook Magazine recent study titled Food Fight! Online Ordering Services Charge Restaurants Huge Fees.  OCP also has an analysis of how the laws differ on disclosure, caps, and registration requirements.
 

COVID-19 Scams:
‚Äč
The pandemic brings
many types of scams. Cybercriminals are sending email messages offering maps to Coronavirus hot spots, posing as influential hospitals and offering health information, or selling bogus cures and products.  Clicking on these scam messages may allow online viruses or malware access to your computer to "phish " or steal your personal or account information.  It is best never to click on unsolicited online offers and only click on COVID-19 news from a trusted source like the CDC, WHO, your local government's website, or other authoritative entity.  The  FCC  has a robust accounting of the robocall, smishing and phishing scams seen to date. Check out OCP's Scam Bank for exa mples of phishing and smishing scams.

The government’s economic impact payments have been the source of many scams from phishing to outright theft . The time in between stimulus payments are also ripe for scammers preying on folks looking for jobs, financial assistance, or unemployment benefits.

There are no approved potions, pills, or treatment products to cure COVID-19. However, the online marketplace and social media advertise worthless “miracle” products from 
colloidal silver drinks to virus killing  toothpaste .  Ignore online ads offering  vaccinations too or  investments in coronavirus treating companies.  The FTC  reports that pop up websites claim to have in-demand products yet never ship them. Worse yet, they may ship  bogus or counterfeit  products. Research the website with the word "scam" to see if consumers are complaining.  Air filter companies have been similarly  warned about bogus claims.

Note,
reports are surfacing that door-to-door scammers are posing as CDC, WHO or other government health officials. These entities are too taxed to be making on site health inspections.  Robocall scams offering free tests ( audio ) have also been reported; some focusing on diabetic patients . The  WSSC also warns that robocallers are wrongly claiming water is contaminated by the virus and offer unnecessary filters.  There are also reports that scam robocalls  promoting  work-at-home schemes are on the rise as are student loan forbearance scams ( audio ).  If someone contacts you about a government check, stop .   Those checks are in the development stage and you don't have to pay to speed up processing.  

Finally, You may be asked to 
donate funds towards research or to help victims. You should research these charities using  Charity Navigator Guidestar or  Give.org . Additionally, make sure the charities have the proper license from your State. 


More Scams


Scambusters please report any scams to
consumerprotection@montgomerycountymd.gov or to the OCP's Anonymous Tip Line at 240.777.3681.