U.S. Postal Inspection Services Operations Technician Named 2017 Consumer Champion
OKLAHOMA CITY – Today, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter hosted the tenth annual Consumer Protection Day at the Attorney General’s Office to raise awareness about the importance of consumer protection and potential scams.
Attorney General Hunter began the event speaking about the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit and the work being done within the office to protect Oklahomans.
“Our small, efficient team, handled 45 investigations last year and recovered over $175,000 for individuals who were the victims of fraud,” Attorney General Hunter said. “The Consumer Protection Unit works around the clock to combat crime that could potentially hurt families across the state.”
The event was attended by Oklahoma News Channel 4 investigative journalist and consumer advocate Scott Hines. Hines assumed the “In Your Corner” segment of the nightly newscast 10 years ago after the death of Brad Edwards. For 25 years, Edwards was a beloved consumer advocate, and the annual award honors his dedication to consumers.
“It is an honor to carry on Brad’s legacy,” Hines said. “He was the ultimate consumer advocate who genuinely cared about people. Brad stood up for justice and for victims of crime. This award is an amazing testament to him, his family and all of the consumer advocates in the state.”
Receiving the 2017 Brad Edwards Consumer Champion Award was U.S. Postal Inspection Service Operations Technician Diane Hunter, who has been with the Postal Service for 32-years in multiple capacities.
Hunter was nominated by Daniel Nevels, the Oklahoma team leader for the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. In the nomination letter, Nevels wrote that Hunter has prevented multiple scams targeting elderly individuals. She has also gone to great lengths assisting consumers to retrieve funds.
Nevels cited a particular situation involving a 91-year-old woman, who sent three separate mailings totaling $136,000 in cash and checks to an oversees scammer. The elderly woman believed she had won a $1 million foreign lottery prize but was told she needed to pay the taxes on the winnings before she could claim the prize money.
According to the letter, Hunter tracked, located and assisted in the retrieval and successful return of the money.
Presenting the award, Attorney General Mike Hunter thanked her for her service and dedication to consumers.
“Diane embodies the spirit and the meaning of what this award is about,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Her dedication to protecting Oklahomans against fraud and crime is a blessing to all of us who serve and protect our fellow citizens. This honor is well deserved.”
Oklahoma State Representative Jason Dunnington was also in attendance and presented Hunter with a commendation from himself and on behalf of Senator Kay Floyd.
Concluding the event, Attorney General Hunter reminded attendees the best way to combat fraud and protect their loved ones was to continue communications, research and educate each other on all of the potential scams that continue to victimize society.
“Although we will never be able to completely prevent fraud from happening, we must educate ourselves about fraud and ways to prevent it,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Also know the Attorney General’s Office and the organizations here today are your most valuable resource and advocates in the fight against fraud.”
Other Consumer Protection Day events included free shredding from MIDCON Shredding and several booths with valuable information from partnering agencies including: AAPR, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Oklahoma City Police Department, the FBI, Oklahoma Department of Securities, Oklahoma Department of Consumer Credit, Social Security Administration, Oklahoma Insurance Department and the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
The Brad Edwards Consumer Award winner is chosen based on exemplary consumer service by initiating consumer advocacy programs, actively participating in activities or taking action that protects or benefits Oklahoma consumers. The award announcement is held annually with Consumer Protection Day.