There is still time to be aware of consumer scams in this, Consumer Protection Week, March 2-8 in South Dakota and across the United States.

It's largely forgotten--not by me, unfortunately--but my first job after I moved to Sioux Falls nearly 40 years ago was as a television reporter, and consumer issues were one of my ":beats." Yup, I was "Ombudsman, the Problem-Solver," a name a surprising number of people had trouble with. More on that another time.

I learned of that responsibility the first day and it intrigued me. I obviously didn't know what a pain it would turn out to be.

The bosses wanted me to go after scams and fraud, but since I had no time, no resources and no budget, I wound up trying to help people get the stuff they had ordered but had not received. And you would not believe the, um, stuff people would send away for.

But back to National Consumer Protection Week.

The South Dakota Attorney General's office has a Consumer Protection Division that's available at 1-800-300-1986, or mailto:consumerhelp@state.sd.us.

Attorney General Marty Jackley says the Division fielded 30,677 in 2013, and recovered $9,446,810 for consumers in the state.

You can also log onto www.ncpw.gov for information on how to avoid scams.

The crooks are out there, but forewarned is forearmed.