Attorney General Phil Weiser kicks off National Consumer Protection Week highlighting record-breaking number of consumer complaints
Social Security, IRS, and debt collection scams lead top 10 complaints and inquiries of 2019
March 2, 2020 (DENVER, Colo.) —Attorney General Phil Weiser today unveiled a list of the top 10 consumer complaints and inquiries his office received in 2019. Last year, consumers filed 9,819 complaints and inquiries with the Consumer Protection Section in the Attorney General’s office, a 7.8% increase from 2018.
“The top complaint we receive at our office is illegal robocalls. Through these calls, unscrupulous individuals use fear and intimidation to lure consumers into giving bank information, Social Security numbers, or other personal data, or signing up for a bogus service. Scammers often target older Coloradans with their deceptive and elaborate phone schemes,” said Weiser. “As Attorney General, I will continue to fight to protect consumers and to give them the materials and tools they need to educate themselves about scams and how to avoid falling victim to them.”
National Consumer Protection Week, March 1-7, was designated by the Federal Trade Commission as a time to help people understand their consumer rights and make well-informed decisions about money. The Attorney General’s office partners with the FTC to help raise awareness about Colorado scams and resources available.
The top 10 types of complaints and inquiries for 2019 are:
|Type of Complaint
|Description||Number of Complaints|
|Fraudulent/Unwanted Telephone Calls||These include complaints about phony Social Security, and IRS calls, and other imposter scams, including tech support scams and phony debt collection scams.||766|
|Collection Agency Complaints||These complaints include issues under the Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, including harassment or abuse by a debt collector, disputed debt, and phantom debt or unlicensed collection.||678|
|Lending Complaints||These complaints include issues under the Uniform Consumer Credit Code, including interest rates, credit reporting, tribal lending, and unlicensed activity.||459|
|Telecommunication Providers||These include issues such as billing disputes, service or coverage issues, rate changes, fees and surcharges, and cancellation and termination issues.||409|
|Business Related Services||These include complaints about Secretary of State filing services, wage and hour compliance documents, and fraudulent invoice schemes.||334|
|Retail Sales||These involve complaints relating to unauthorized memberships or subscriptions, service and delivery issues, along with cancellation and termination issues.||256|
|Automobile Dealers||These include complaints that relate to the sale of new/used automobiles, misrepresentations about condition of used cars, loss of trade-in vehicles that are sold by the dealer before financing is approved, warranty, title, and general advertising issues.||232|
|Real Estate Sales and Services||These involve complaints relating to real estate agents and brokers, title companies, property management services, rental/leases, and referral services.||183|
|Health and Medical Facilities & Services||These include complaints about medical facilities, medical billing, and quality of care issues.||181|
|Timeshares||These complaints involve companies soliciting mailers or phone calls offering to purchase a timeshare, often charging bogus upfront administrative fees.||144|
A number of the complaints involve businesses and individuals against whom the Attorney General previously brought enforcement actions, including CenturyLink, Denver Custom Food Trucks, ITT Tech, Nationwide Debt Reduction Services, LLC., and Sky Bridge Financial, LLC. Publicity about a case, or information sought for purposes of restitution, often results in the filing of additional reports and inquiries. For a comprehensive case list, go to StopFraudColorado.gov.
StopFraudColorado.gov is an education outreach program in the Attorney General’s office that is designed to provide timely, credible information on scams, help victims, and encourage consumers to report fraud. It emphasizes consumer protection outreach and makes it easier for Coloradans to avoid becoming a victim of fraud, while streamlining the process for filing fraud reports.
“It is critical that Coloradans of all ages remember that phone calls are still the number one way that scammers are contacting their victims. So if they answer the phone and it is not someone they know, it’s a good idea to hang up,” said Mark Fetterhoff, AARP ElderWatch.
AARP ElderWatch Colorado is a program developed in collaboration with the Colorado Attorney General and AARP. The program’s mission is to ensure that no older adults are left to suffer, alone and in silence, at the hands of those who attempt to exploit them. The program fights the financial exploitation of older Coloradans through education and outreach, data collection, and the providing of assistance.
If you believe you have been defrauded or victimized by a Colorado business or nonprofit, file a report online at StopFraudColorado.gov or call 1-800-222-4444.
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