BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County has received $2 million from the New York State Attorney General to help bolster consumer protection programs in Western New York.
Attorney General Letitia James delivered the funds on Tuesday.
The money comes from a previous case against a predatory debt collection operation that falsely threatened consumers if they did not pay debts owed.
“I am proud to deliver this funding to support critical programs that will help protect consumers in Buffalo and across Erie County,” said Attorney General James in a press release.
“Predatory businesses harm hardworking New Yorkers and leave them struggling to make ends meet. These funds will help ensure consumers have the resources and support they need to get their money back and stop scammers. My office will continue to use every tool to protect New Yorkers from fraud and deception.”
The county plans to use the funding to expand their consumer protection initiatives and hire a full-time, in-house attorney in the county’s Consumer Protection Office to go after predatory businesses, including deceitful home improvement contractors, dedicate funds for community outreach programs and establish a Deputy Commissioner of Public Advocacy position.
“I want to thank Attorney General James for securing this funding for the expansion of the services and programs offered through the Erie County Office of Consumer Protection,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz.
“We will now be able to better investigate consumer complaints and improve our ability to educate our residents about predatory and unlawful businesses attempting to take advantage of others. Today's announcement is the latest example of why my administration created a dedicated office to ensure that Erie County residents have access to education, information and resources regarding consumer protection to defend against predatory practices and protect those whose rights have been violated.”
If you feel you have been a victim of fraud, you are asked to file a complaint with the New York State Attorney General's Office.