The Illinois’ Attorney General’s office has released their top scams of 2012. Topping the list for the fifth year in a row: Scams related to consumer debt. The office handled 7,631 complaints with regard to mortgage lending, debt collection and credit cards in 2012. Identity theft came in at No. 2 on the list, followed by telecommunication scams and home improvement scams.
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New to the list this year is scams regarding higher education. Complaints about for-profit schools, trade schools, universities and other higher education came in at No. 5 on the list with 1,347 complaints. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan filed a lawsuit in 2012 against for-profit school Westwood College. The suit contends that the school failed to provide students with sufficient information regarding loans and accreditation. “This year marks the first time that student loan issues and for-profit colleges are among the top concerns for Illinois residents, and it’s no wonder given the lengths we’ve seen some for-profit operators go to boost their bottom line, even when it has meant destroying their students’ financial future,” Madigan said.
Madigan has created an information pamphlet designed to educate potential college students on for-profit schools and student loans, which can be found on the Attorney General’s website. Rounding out the Top 10 list: Complaints about motor vehicles and used auto sales, promotions and schemes, fraud against business, mail order and coming in at No. 10, motor vehicle non-warranty repair. The Top 10 list is released to coincide with National Consumer Protection Week.