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AARP: Let Iowa Scam Victims Have Their Day In Court

February 23, 2009

Des Moines, IA – For a decade now, Iowa has been the only state that does not give its citizens who are victims of fraud the right to take individual legal action against scam artists and other dishonest businesses who harmed them. However, this week state lawmakers will have an opportunity to determine whether added consumer rights will finally be approved in the current legislative session.

Anthony Carroll with AARP Iowa says it's embarrassing that Iowa's unique situation continues.

"Iowa is the only state in the Union, and that includes the Virgin Islands, Guam and Puerto Rico, that does not allow consumers to take individual actions against perpetrators of fraud to recover damages. We stand alone, and it's an unfortunate and embarrassing distinction."

Carroll says the safeguard is critical this year because the economic downturn presents increased opportunities for scam artists.

"All consumers are affected; older consumers are disproportionately affected by fraud, and scam artists target older adults."

While critics claim anti-fraud laws put an undue burden on business, Carroll says any legitimate business can easily avoid being the targets of lawsuits by not engaging in dishonest practices in the first place. He says the Private Right of Action bill would insure protections for consumers in these tough economic times, without the state having to appropriate a dime.

Dick Layman, Public News Service - IA