Doug Peterson

Nebraska Attorney General

Nebraska AGO Expands Reach to Serve Nebraska Consumers

In recognition of National Consumer Protection Week - a campaign that encourages consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better-informed decisions – the Attorney General’s Office has launched a new “Protect the Good Life” consumer protection website at ProtectTheGoodLife.nebraska.gov.

The goal in designing the website is to create a consumer friendly, content rich information center. The new website facilitates consumer education and promotes the exchange of information, actively encouraging and making the process of reporting a scam and filing a complaint easier. This better connects Nebraskans to the Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division, as well as other agencies and organizations throughout the state.

Who we are.
The Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office works to protect Nebraskans from unfair, unconscionable and deceptive trade practices, to ensure fair competition between businesses, and to oversee charitable assets and entities. The Division, through the leadership of its Chief, Abigail Stempson, accomplishes this through consumer education, mediation of consumer complaints, and enforcement.

Ryan Sothan, the Consumer Protection Division’s education and outreach coordinator, travels throughout Nebraska informing consumers about Internet safety, identity theft, senior fraud, and a variety of other topics to help consumers protect themselves. In 2015, the Division had 112 speaking engagements, reaching over 9,000 Nebraskans. Organizations can schedule a presentation from Mr. Sothan and the Division to educate consumers through the new streamlined request form at ProtectTheGoodLife.nebraska.gov.

The Consumer Protection Division also offers mediation of disputes that a consumer may have with a business through the Mediation Center. To resolve disputes, mediation relies on the voluntary cooperation of both the consumer and the business. The mediation process is started by filing a consumer complaint either online through the new website or through the mail. Disputes can often be resolved as a result of the mediation process.

Through the leadership of Tessa Peters, the Mediation Center Supervisor, and the Mediation team, in 2015 over 11,000 phone calls were logged and roughly 3,700 complaints were mediated, recovering more than a half a million dollars for Nebraska consumers. Consumers are welcome to file a complaint with the mediation center should they have a dispute with a business, or file a scam report with our office if they become aware of a scam affecting our state.

Finally, the Division protects Nebraskans through enforcement actions when necessary. This may involve litigation, such as against Apple and American Express, which the Attorney General’s Office sued in 2015 for violations of antitrust law. The Division also works with companies to reach settlements – in 2015 the Division settled 13 cases against companies or individuals pursuant to our state consumer protection laws.

The new Protect the Good Life website.
When a consumer knows to look for the right warning signs, the chances of becoming a victim to a scammer or fraudster are greatly reduced. The tools at ProtectTheGoodLife.nebraska.gov include tips to help Nebraskans recognize the warning signs of a scam, as education is the best way for consumers to protect themselves. The Attorney General’s Office wants consumers to realize that once money is sent to a scammer, it is gone.

ProtectTheGoodLife.nebraska.gov aims to be as user friendly as possible. It is set up so that a consumer can easily file a complaint, report a scam and educate themselves in regard to important consumer issues through education buttons. The website is divided into five categories of consumer groups to easily inform about consumer issues targeting each group. The groups include: Yourself, Seniors, Military and Veterans, Young Adults, and Kids. A mobile-friendly interface provides for consumers to freely access the available resources anytime, anywhere, from any device.

With the help of Nebraska consumers, the Division is able to identify scams and frauds that are directly targeting our state. Below are the top 10 scams reported to the Attorney General’s Office, as well as the top 10 scams reported to the Federal Trade Commission.

Top Scams in 2015

Nebraska Attorney General's Office
1. Identity Theft
2. Travel & Vacations Scams
3. Imposter Scams
4. Prizes, Sweepstakes & Lotteries
5. Home Repair & Improvement
6. Auto Related Complaints
7. Health Care
8. Debt Collection
9. Business and Job Opportunities
10. Internet Services

Federal Trade Commission - Nationwide
1. Identity Theft
2. Debt Collection
3. Imposter Scams
4. Telephone & Mobile Services
5. Banks & Lenders
6. Prizes, Sweepstakes & Lotteries
7. Auto Related Complaints
8. Shop-at-home & Catalog Sales
9. Television & Electronic Media
10. Internet Services

The website is and will remain an updated source for information. This will be accomplished through news and press releases, relevant content updates, as well showcasing our new Consumer Protection Twitter page that will be updated daily. Follow the Consumer Protection Division on Twitter @ProtectNE.

“As your Attorney General, with the help of my Consumer Protection Division team, I look forward to continuing to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe, by detecting, deterring, and defending against scams and fraud.” - - Attorney General Doug Peterson