CHARLESTON -- Attorney General Darrell McGraw's office has created a panel of 33 citizens to help it deal with consumer protection issues.
The Citizen Advisory Committee is "partnering with the Attorney General's Office to strengthen and expand consumer protection," McGraw said in announcing the formation of the group. "This new channel of communication reinforces a strong foundation for the partnership between communities, the Citizen's Advisory Committee, and the Attorney General's Office.
"Ultimately this network will link communities together, stifling the efforts of scams and unlawful business practices through community outreach."
Fran Hughes, Chief Deputy Attorney General, went into more detail. She said the 33 members will help citizens from across the state communicate easier with the AG's office.
"We wanted to have a collective voice from different regions from the state about consumer issues," she said. "Needs in some parts of the state might be different than those in other parts of the state."
She said committee members also will serve as liaisons to our consumer advocates.
If an elderly person – or anyone, for that matter – is being scammed, the forms they have to fill out might be overwhelming," Hughes said. "This way, we can be assured that someone will hook that elderly person up with the consumer advocate to make sure those forms are completed and completed properly."
She said the members also will advise the AG's office of emerging consumer issues in their community and keep the office abreast of opportunities to provide consumer education to citizens in a particular county.
"They can advise the office of opportunities to come to an area to provide consumer education, such as our Credit Car program," Hughes said, referring to a mobile program that helps citizens check their credit reports. "They'll ID other needs, too. And they'll help us go to these areas to be involved in outreach."
The committee also will recommend where resources of consumer protection should be used.
"The Citizen Advisory Committee will create community awareness, involvement and education," McGraw said in a press release. "These tools are essential in expanding our consumer protection efforts."
The names of all 33 committee members have not been announced, Hughes said. They will be introduced at the first meeting on April 13.