Bureau of Consumer Protection

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    Scams and Tips

    Attorney General Ford is committed to protecting your pocket and identity from fraudsters and believes that every Nevadan's first line of defense is education. Every day, members of his Bureau of Consumer Protection work hard to protect your rights and keep you safe from fraudsters. They alert Nevadans about the latest scams, they fight data breaches, they work with individuals and businesses to protect your rights, they work with other states to protect shared interests, and so much more.

    One of the biggest hardships Nevadans face is fighting scams. There are many scams out there and new ways fraudsters are finding to take your money.  We have compiled a list of some of the most common scams, along with tips every Nevadan can follow to protect their consumer rights and guard themselves against scams.

      Reporting a Scam

      As a Nevadan, you are one of our best resources for finding out about scams. If you have been scammed or know of suspicious activity, please report it to our office in the form of a complaint.

      Complaints should be filed:

      • On the Attorney General's website here; or
      • By contacting the Bureau of Consumer Protection's hotline toll free at (888) 434-9989.

        General Scams Related to Identity Theft, Imposter, Debt Collection, and Scams to Obtain Money:

        • Debt Collection Scams
          • When you owe a debt, that debt may be sent to a collections agency. While there are some legitimate debt collection companies, scammers may try to get you to pay on amounts that you do not owe or that do not even exist.
          • Tip: You are entitled to certain information about a debt, including the name of the creditor and the amount owed. If you dispute the debt the debt collector will have to obtain verification of the debt.
        • Romance Scams
          • The scammer poses as friend/love interest on social media or dating apps and tricks the victim into giving the scammer money once the scammer has gained the trust of the victim.
          • Tip: Do not give personal account information or money to someone you do not know, including those you meet online.
        • IRS Imposter Scams
          • The scammer contacts the victim via phone, email, or mail claiming that the victim owes back-taxes and will be penalized if he or she doesn't pay immediately.
          • Tip: Actual IRS representatives will not ask for payments with prepaid cards or gift cards and will have your confidential IRS authentication number.
        • Social Security Imposter Scams
          • The scammer contacts victims claiming to be a Social Security office representative and claims the victim's Social Security number has been compromised or canceled.
          • Tip: A Social Security office representative will never threaten or pressure a person for personal information, and your number cannot be canceled.
        • Tech Support Scam
          • Scammers in a tech support scam will contact you claiming that you have a problem with your computer that does not exist in an attempt to steal your money or personal information.
          • Tip: If you think there may be a problem on your computer, update your software and run an antivirus program to identify any problems. Security pop-up warnings will never prompt you to call a phone number.
        • Grandparent Scam
          • Scammers pretend to be your grandchild or other family member in an attempt to trick you into sending money. The person may claim to be stranded, arrested, or in need of money for another kind of emergency.
          • Tip: Before sending money to anyone claiming to be related to you, try to contact the person or someone who is close to the family member at a number you know belongs to the person you are trying to reach to confirm the information.
        • Utilities Scam
          • Someone posing as a representative of a utility company threatens to shut off your utilities unless you send payment immediately, often by alternative means, such as gift card or wire transfer.
          • Tip: Before your utilities are shut off for non-payment, the utility company will send you multiple notices by other means with advance notice.                    
        • Residential Rooftop Solar Scams 
          • Scammers make promises regarding the benefits of solar that are not included in the written residential rooftop solar contract. For example, scammers may promise you that you will never receive another energy bill again if you purchase residential rooftop solar. 
          • Tip: You will always receive an energy bill from a utility provider when contracted to use energy from that utility provider. While residential rooftop solar may help reduce the amount you pay for the energy you use, it will never eliminate the receipt of an energy bill from the contracted utility provider. Always read the residential rooftop solar contract thoroughly as the contract you are being asked to sign is controlling. 
          • Residential Rooftop Solar and Imposter
        • Medicare Scam
          • Unscrupulous individuals contact you attempting to obtain your Medicare number so that they can use it to commit Medicare fraud.
          • Tip: Medicare will not contact you via phone to ask for your Medicare number unless you have given permission to do so in advance.
        • Charity Scams
          • Charity fraud scams solicit donations for charities that do little or no work for the cause they claim to support.
          • Tip: Do your research on any organization to which you wish to donate and only donate to charities that you know and trust.
        • Notario or Unauthorized Practice of Law Scams
          • Someone who is not licensed to practice law or who is not an accredited representative with the Department of Justice claims that they can assist you with immigration, tax, document preparation, or other legal issues.
          • Tip: Ask for documentation that the individual is licensed to practice law or is accredited by the Department of Justice. You can verify this information on the state bar website or on the DOJ's website.
          • Notario and Immigration
        • Ticket Sales
          • Scammers use social media platforms and websites that appear legitimate to advertise events that they never intend to host or make counterfeit duplicates of tickets to real events.
          • Tip: Whenever possible, use a credit card to pay for any event ticket. Using a credit card may afford you the option of stopping payment or requesting a refund through your credit card company. With cash, there is no way to get your money back.
        •  Identity Theft  
        • Stop Scams Coloring Book  
        • Street Smart Seniors  
        • FTC Publications Regarding Scam Awareness
          • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), maintains a public domain with free publications about scams, privacy, credit, and more.  You may view or download copies of these publications here

          Technology Scams:

          •  Robocalls  
            • A robocall is a call with a pre-recorded message instead of a live person. The message may try to sell you something or request you provide information - sometimes sensitive information.
            •  Tip: Block the call by calling the carrier or by downloading an anti-scam application. You can also block numbers directly on most smart phones without downloading a program. Do not press 1 to speak to a live operator or any other number, and do not provide any personal information.  
          •  Phishing  
            • Scammer's use of fraudulent emails or copycat websites that appear to be valid and from well-known sources such as an Internet provider, mortgage company, or bank. The email or website is the scammer's attempt to trick the victim into clicking on the emails or otherwise stealing the victim's identity.
            •  Tip: To protect yourself from phishing scams, use the most up-to-date security software, a multi-step authentication, and avoid clicking on suspicious emails. Look for clues such as spelling mistakes in the body of the email or any abnormal requests.  
          • Smishing
            • "Smishing" is like phishing, but in the form of a text message. "Phishing" is a message sent by a scammer made to look like it is coming from a legitimate source such as your bank, but is designed by a scammer to attempt to steal personal or financial information from you. The word smishing comes from combining "SMS" -the technology behind texting - with the word phishing,
            • Tip: Do not click on any links or otherwise respond to text messages from unknown sources, even if they appear to be from a legitimate entity or business. Instead, find the verified phone number of the entity online and contact them directly to ask whether the text message is legitimate or a smishing scam.
          • Vishing
            • "Vishing" is like phishing, but instead of being perpetrated through an email, the scammer calls the target on the phone. In a vishing attack, a scammer will call their target and try to get them to reveal their personal information, send money, or both. The word "vishing" comes from combining the words "voice" and "phishing."
            • Tip: If you get a call from an unknown source, it is usually best to hang up the phone. If the caller said they were from an entity like the IRS or your bank, do not take them at their word. Instead, look up the verified address online and call that number back to ask about the legitimacy of the call you received. Donot share any sensitive or personal information with an unknown caller, especially if the caller requests any information from you to confirm who you are before proceeding with the call.
          • Cryptocurrency Scams
            • Scammers are creating fraudulent exchange platforms that link directly to the scammer's bank account.
            • Tip: Remember that cryptocurrency is simply digital money - so any scam involving the concept of money can also involve cryptocurrency. When using a new currency exchange platform, verify the legitimacy of the platform before buying cryptocurrency.
          • NFT Scams (non-fungible tokens)
            • Scammers have set up fraudulent NFT online stores, often showing popular art or other digital assets at heavily reduced prices. While the consumer thinks they may be getting a deal by purchasing a popular NFT at the little known online store, the scammer is preparing to take their money and run.
            • Tip: Only purchase NFTs from reputable online stored that you have verified are legitimate. If you are thinking you are getting a great deal on an NFT that is going for a much higher price on a differing website, it's possible that you have encountered a fraudulent NFT online store.
          • QR Code (quick response codes) Scams
            • Scammers will create fraudulent QR codes or even physically replace QR codes at popular establishment in an attempt to direct you to fraudulent websites that ask for your personal information.
            • Tip: Be cautious of what QR codes you use and where you obtain them from. If it appears the QR code has been tampered with, avoid using it. Simultaneously, verify the legitimacy of the website that the QR code is directing you to.
          •  Malware
            • Malware is a general term for a program that is designed to harm or exploit any kind of electronic device, service, or network. Examples of malware include malicious software, viruses, worms, ransomware, and spyware. Criminals use these programs to steal personal or financial information or assume control of a device or network.
            •  Tip: Protect your devices by keeping them up-to-date with the latest software. Avoid clicking on suspicious links contained in emails or text messages.  
          •  Spam
            • Spam is an unsolicited commercial email or message sent to multiple users who did not request them. In addition to being an annoyance, spam can contain viruses, harmful links, or unwelcome content.
            •  Tip: While spam is nearly impossible to avoid, you can cut the amount you receive down by activating spam filters on your email and not providing your email addresses to commercial entities.  
          •  Skimmers
            • A skimmer is a device hidden within a legitimate card reader that is used to capture data from someone's credit or debit card when they swipe. Some skimming devices may also contain cameras to capture PINs or other information that will help the thief use the card.
            •  Tip: Check for evidence of tampering on the payment device and trust your gut if something doesn't feel right. Avoid using debit cards at card readers when possible, and check your statements for unauthorized transactions.
            • Skimmers Brochure
            • Skimmers Brochure - Spanish
          •  Data Breaches
            • A data breach is the unauthorized access or disclosure of confidential or private information from a protected digital environment. The access can be from an internal or external source (commonly referred to as a hacker).
            •  Tip: In modern times, no one is completely protected from a data breach. To protect your data, use strong, unique passwords for every account you create and use multi-factor authentication whenever possible. Consider freezing your credit with all three major credit bureaus to prevent those who have stolen your information from creating accounts in your name.




            Considerations for Residential Rooftop Solar also known as a Distributed Generation System or Residential Photovoltaic Systems (referred to as a “Solar System”)

            In 2023, the Nevada Legislature amended provisions of the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act to provide additional protections for purchasers of Solar Systems.  These amendments were adopted through Senate Bill 293 (2023).  In addition to general questions about Solar Systems, these FAQs will endeavor to provide additional information about these important consumer protection changes to Nevada law.


            Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs


            Considering a Solar System?

            The Attorney General's Office does not take a position on the purchase and installation of Solar Systems.  The decision to purchase a Solar System for your home is an individual one and should be done after review and consideration of the laws governing contracts used to obtain a Solar System residential rooftop solar (also known as Distributed Generation Systems or Residential Photovoltaic Systems) under Nevada's Deceptive Trade Practices Act, NRS Chapter 598, as well as the contract itself and any other information at the time of sale.


            How should I go about selecting a Solar System contractor?

            The Attorney General's Office recommends that you use a contractor licensed by the Nevada State Contractor's Board to purchase or install a solar system found here.  You may also wish to ensure the contractor is registered with the Nevada Secretary of State by checking here.  The Attorney General's Office further recommends that you review, read, and understand your contract, as well as your rights under Nevada's Deceptive Trade Practices Act, NRS Chapter 598, before signing a contract.  


            Will I still have an energy bill if I get a Solar System?

            Yes, if you receive energy from a utility provider, you will always receive an energy bill from that utility provider, even if you add a solar system.  The only exception is if that solar system is not connected to the utility provider’s system.  A Solar System may help reduce the amount you pay for the energy you use, but it will not replace energy you are receiving from a utility provider.  



            Will my energy bill be reduced after getting a Solar System?

            While the answer is often yes, it is important to consider several factors in determining your savings including:

            The cost of your energy bill;

            How much sunlight exposure your house receives;

            What the typical weather is in your area;

            The cost of solar panels;

            How many solar panels in your Solar System;

            The type of solar panels in your Solar System; and

            Whether and what incentives are offered in the contract.



            What should I consider before purchasing and installing a Solar System?


            Consider the following before purchasing or installing a Solar System:

            Do not feel pressured or rushed to sign (in print or electronically) any document related to the purchase of your Solar System, including a contract, by a sales or company representative - take your time and review, read, and understand the contract and documents or seek the advice of loved ones, friends, an attorney, or professional to assist you.

            Do not purchase a Solar System from any sales or company representative that states they are selling Solar Systems on behalf of a government-related entity.  

            Ensure the contract you sign conforms to the requirements of Nevada's Deceptive Trade Practices Act (NRS chapter 598), found in NRS 598.9801 to 598.9822, and the changes by SB293 (2023). We recommend you take your time to review, read, and understand the contract or seek the advice of a loved one, friend, an attorney, or professional to assist you.

            Be cautious of representations that you will not receive an energy bill from your utility provider if you get a Solar System - this claim is not accurate.

            Be cautious of representations that the Solar System will be “free” or that you will pay an amount that is less than what is in the written/electronic contract - these claims are inaccurate.


            Do I have a right to rescind my contract for a Solar System after I entered into the contract?

            Yes, Nevada law provides a three-day right of recission for any buyer who enters into a contract for the purchase of a Solar System (See SB 239, Section 6).  The buyer may rescind the contract by giving written notice to the seller by emailing the notice no later than midnight of the third business day after the sales contract was entered into or signed in print or electronically.


            Is the output of a Solar System guaranteed (i.e., the amount of energy created by solar panels)?

            Your contract will include a provision regarding any guaranty about the Solar System you are considering purchasing. Please review, read, and understand your contract thoroughly before entering into the contract. If a sales representative has made a representation or guaranty to you orally, ensure that the oral representation or guaranty is written into the contract. Consider consulting with a loved one, friend, an attorney or professional prior to entering into a contract for a Solar System.



            Where can I learn more about my rights as a consumer in making a decision to purchase a Solar System?

            You can learn more about your rights in making a decision to purchase a Solar System by reviewing Nevada's Deceptive Trade Practices Act (NRS 598), found in NRS 598.9801 to 598.9822. You can also learn more by reviewing Nevada's Renewable Energy Bill of Rights here.



            What companies will I interact with if I choose to buy a Solar System?

            You may interact with multiple companies in the purchase of your Solar System.  You may interact with a lead generator who is hired to generate leads and make appointments for solar installation companies. You will also interact with the residential rooftop solar installation company, which must be licensed by the Nevada State Contractor’s Board to sell and install Solar Systems in Nevada. You may also interact with a separate finance company if you decide to finance your Solar System. Finally, you may also have some interaction with NV Energy or your utility provider through the installation process.



            What can I do if I suspect a solar company, solar installation company, solar financing company, or any other person involved in the sale or installation of Solar Systems in Nevada violated Nevada law?

            If you suspect  that a solar company, solar installation company, financing company, third-party lead generator, or any other person involved in the sale or installation of Solar Systems in Nevada violated Nevada law, including the Nevada Deceptive Trade Practices Act (NRS 598), you may file a complaint with the Office of the Nevada Attorney General, Bureau of Consumer Protection here.


            Can a contract for the purchase of a Solar System be voidable by the purchaser?

            A contract for the purchase of a Solar System can be voidable by the purchaser if the solar installation company knowingly violates any section of NRS chapter 598 governing the transaction for the sale and purchase of a Solar System (See SB 293, Section 9).


            How long does the purchaser have to void the contract for the purchase of a Solar System?

            It depends.  Practically speaking, there must be evidence of a violation of Nevada law relating to the sale and purchase of a Solar System in order for a purchaser to void a contract.  It is recommended that purchasers of a Solar System act quickly to void their contract if they believe there is evidence supporting a violation of Nevada law.  Under Nevada law, a solar installation company is required to keep the recorded conversation for 4 years, but it is recommended that solar installation companies keep the recordings for as long as feasible.


            However, purchasers and solar companies should also remember that Nevada law provides the purchaser with a right to rescind or cancel the solar purchase agreement for any reason for up to three business days after the execution of the contract.


            What happens if a purchaser is unavailable for a recorded conversation within the first 48 hours of the contract required by Nevada law?

            Solar companies must complete a verbal recorded conversation within 48 hours of the solar contract being signed (See SB 239, Section 2).  A purchaser of a Solar System has three business days from the day the contract was signed to rescind the contract irrespective of whether the verbal recorded conversation was recorded.  In the event the verbal recorded conversation was not completed within 48 hours or within three business days from the day the contract was signed, the solar installation company would be in violation of Nevada law and the contract would be subject to being void by the purchaser.  (See SB 293 Section 2 and Section 9).  Therefore it is recommended that solar companies should seek to either conduct the recorded interview at the time the contract is signed, or refrain from executing the contract until a time the purchaser is available to have the recorded conversation (or within 48 hours from that time). 


            Can the required cover page be more than one page?

            Yes.  The requirements for the cover page for the different types of solar agreements are contained in Sections 6, 7, and 8 of SB 293.  A solar company must include each of the requirements listed in the cover page in the required font size. If including every requirement in the required font size means that the cover page goes over one page, then that is ok.


            Does a solar installation company have to provide translated contracts in any language?

            It depends.  A solar installation company must provide a copy of the contract to a purchaser in English, and in the language that the solar company advertised the sale and information about the Solar System or verbally negotiated the contract, or in the language the purchaser requests.  (See SB 293 Section 8).  If the solar company did not advertise or negotiate a contract with the purchaser in a language other than English, it need not provide a translated copy of the contract in a different language.


            If a customer refuses to agree to a recording (perhaps for privacy reasons), is the solar company required to cancel the agreement at that time?

            In order to comply with SB 293 and Nevada law, within 48 hours of after the execution of a contract for the purchase of a Solar System, a solar installation company must verbally record in person, by telephone, or by videoconference, confirmation of the identity  of  a  purchaser  of  a  Solar System , and communicate to the purchaser information about the purchaser’s rights that are listed on the cover page (found in NRS 598.9809, 598.9813 or 598.9816, and in SB 293).  The solar company must then confirm that the purchaser of the Solar System understands the information communicated in the cover page.  The solar company is prohibited from commencing installation of a Solar System until this recording has been made. In addition, the recording must be maintained for at least 4 years after the date of the final inspection.

            If a consumer refuses to have a recording, it is recommended the solar company void the contract. 


            Most advertising today is conducted outside of print media. What was the intent of the law with respect to lead generators/advertising firms providing digital and broadcast ads?

            AB 293 permits lead generators to utilize print media in their solicitations, but does not permit them to utilize digital media or broadcast ads.  However, Nevada law does not prohibit licensed contractors, as defined in NRS 624, from advertising in print media, digital media, or broadcast ads, or hiring an advertising firm to create the solicitations.


            What if a Solar Company does not have the ability or technology to make the recordings required by Nevada law?

            Solar companies may contract with vendors (such as an IT provider) to provide the recording service or storage of the recordings.  The verbal communication must be recorded by the solar installation company and maintained for no less than 4 years. Nevada law does not prohibit a solar installation company from hiring a vendor to provide the recording service and maintain the recordings.


            Does this legislation impact the ability for an installer to subcontract some of the work (that is not associated to solar sales) of a Solar System, for example an electrician?

            Nevada law does not impact the ability of a solar installation company to subcontract work related to the installation of a Solar System.  That type of subcontractor relationship is governed under NRS 624.


            Can a sales company or individual that does not hold a license under NRS Chapter 624 perform any actions involved in solar sales under this new law?

            No.  Nevada law does not permit an unlicensed company or individual from selling Solar Systems in Nevada.  However, individuals and companies that act as lead generators are not required to be licensed by the Nevada State Contractor’s Board.  (See SB 239 Section 5.5).  Lead Generators are limited to performing the tasks of acting as a referral source, provide contact information, set up appointments, or advertising through print media for solar companies who hold a license under NRS Chapter 624.


            Can a an individual that works as an employee for company that holds a license under NRS Chapter 624, also work for a third party dealer and receive compensation for sales for the licensed solar company from the third party dealer through a Form 1099 arrangement? 

            No.  This type of arrangement is not permitted under NRS Chapter 598 or NRS Chapter 624. 


            What are the new cover page requirements?

            In addition to the cover page requirements already found in NRS 598.9809, NRS 598.9813, and NRS 598.9816, the solar installation company must prominently display, in 16 point font notice of:

            the right to rescind or cancel the agreement, without any penalty or obligation, within 3 business days after the execution of the agreement, as provided in section 3;

            an electronic mail address to which a notice of rescission or cancellation may be sent pursuant to section 3 and notice that the customer may send such a notice to that electronic mail address; notice of the requirement to make and maintain a recording pursuant to section 2; and

            that, before the installation of the distributed generation system, the customer  will have the opportunity to confirm that no representations, offers or promises were made at any time concerning the sale of the output of the distributed generation system other than what is contained in the agreement.

            Additionally, the solar installation company must include, in at least 10 point font:

            an explanation that the customer will always receive a power bill if the premises are connected to the power grid;

            the estimated production or offset is based on available data on prior consumption; and

            any change in consumption will impact the estimated offset, or savings, in relation to the production.


              Bureau of Consumer Protection

              The Attorney General's Bureau of Consumer Protection is under the direction of Nevada's Consumer Advocate, and has the statutory authority under Nevada's consumer protection laws to prosecute criminal and civil cases.

              The Bureau of Consumer Protection currently enforces laws and reviews complaints from four primary areas:

              • Deceptive Trade - Enforcement of deceptive trade practices helps to prevent consumers from being injured or deceived in consumer transactions;
              • Unfair Trade Practices (Antitrust) - Enforcement of unfair trade practices helps to reduce the economic harm to consumers as a result of undue market power; and
              • Utility/Energy Advocacy - participation in utility rate proceedings helps to ensure ratepayers receive reliable utility service at a reasonable cost.

                Consumer Protection Contact

                Hotline in Nevada (702) 486-3132
                Toll-Free (888) 434-9989

                To File a Complaint