CHARLESTON – Scams top the list of topics bringing visitors to West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's mobile office, which began operating last spring, a spokesman said.
"Questions most typically asked involve scams, like the IRS call scam and the scam where it looks like people are dialing themselves," Curtis Johnson, press secretary for the Attorney General's Office, said in an email interview with The West Virginia Record. "Concealed carry laws, used cars, satellite TV and internet issues are also popular topics of inquiry. Consumers also ask about the Consumer Protection Division and the complaint filing process."
Some also ask how to send positive, thankful statements to the Attorney General’s office.
"The public’s response has been very positive and appreciative," Johnson said. "They are generally curious about what our office does and about the scam/fraud material at the informational booths. People tell stories about how Consumer Protection Division has helped them in the past and stop by when they have a specific issue."
Morrisey, in a statement released at the time the mobile office was announced, said he had specific ideas in mind in the project.
“Keeping consumers up-to-date on scams, consumer protection settlements and consumer related issues is a big part of what we do,” Morrisey said. “Having the opportunity to ask questions and speak with a representative directly is extremely beneficial to the consumer.”
The mobile office begin operating last spring, when Amy Nickerson, the Attorney General's Office's consumer outreach and compliance specialist, hosted events around the state. Topics included informing consumers of the latest scams in their areas, providing tips about protecting personal information and answering questions about recent consumer protection settlements. Event locations included the Marshall County Courthouse, Brooke County Senior Center in Follansbee, Hancock County Senior Center in New Manchester and the New Martinsville Senior Center.
The mobile office upcoming events are scheduled from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. daily until Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Jefferson County Youth Fair, at the fairgrounds at 1707 Old Leetown Pike in Kearneysville; from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. daily until Friday, Aug. 26, at the Randolph County Senior Center, 5th and Railroad Avenue in Elkins; from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday, Aug. 30, at the Brooke County Courthouse, 632 Main St. in Wellsburg; from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, for the flood relief mobile office at Elk River Community Center, 1078 Main St. in Elkview; from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Lincoln Primary Care Heat ‘n the Hills Festival, 7400 Lynn Ave. in Hamlin; and from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30 at Beckley City Hall, 409 S. Kanawha St. in Beckley.
"As part of the Office of the Attorney General's constituent outreach, our consumer representatives host monthly Mobile Office Hours throughout the state," Johnson said. "These mobile office hours offer consumers the chance to meet in person with a representative of the Attorney General's office to discuss any issues or concerns in their area, report scams and fraud, and learn more about the office's consumer protection efforts."
Opportunities and topics at the mobile office vary but they typically are set up as information booths at various locations, including county senior centers, libraries, courthouses and other publicly trafficked areas, Johnson said.
"Consumer representative and compliance specialists provide consumers with information on things like scams, concealed handgun laws, unfair business practices, general office questions and more," he said.