Inside LADA

December 6, 2018: Ask A Consumer Law Expert

Hoon Chun, assistant head deputy district attorney, answers questions about how consumers may protect themselves against fraud this holiday season.

How does fraud differ during the holiday season?
As the year ends, expect an increase in solicitations from charitable organizations. While many provide worthy services, some are not legitimate.  Consumers should consider donating to local churches, schools or other familiar organizations.

How can consumers defend against fraud?
Most of us buy more online during the holiday season. Consumers should research any unfamiliar businesses before placing an order or providing identifying information or credit card numbers.

How can consumers protect themselves? 
During the holiday season, as consumers make more purchases online and provide their identifying and credit card information more frequently, the risk of identity theft also increases. Consumers should at least annually review their credit reports at the three major credit rating agencies.




What should victims of identity theft or fraud do?
If the purchase was made with a credit card, a timely report to most credit card companies usually suffices to avoid incurring liability for the fraudulent debt.  Victims also should report the incident to their local police department and obtain a copy of the police report. In addition, victims should report the identity theft to each of the three major credit reporting agencies (EquifaxExperian and TransUnion)

What is LADA’s role in combating fraud? 
Fraud investigations primarily are conducted by local police agencies. If the police agency believes there is sufficient evidence to prosecute a case, that agency submits its findings to the District Attorney's Office for evaluation.  If prosecutors determine that there is sufficient evidence, a criminal case is filed.