SCAM ALERT: Beware Of Patent Trolls

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The North Carolina Attorney General's Office is warning of patent trolls. That's the title to companies that don't make or sell anything but instead gather patents on different items. They then use those patents to try to coerce individuals, businesses and non-profits to pay them fees for use of ordinary office equipment. Among the items targeted by the patent trolls are printers, wireless routers and scanners, according to officials.

Authorities say patent trolls often succeed at getting money from people because they threaten expensive and complex lawsuits.

If you think you've been contacted by a patent troll, the state wants to hear from you. You're asked to call (877) 5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint at