Feeling a bit aggravated lately? Feel like someone is hassling you unfairly, perhaps even illegally?
You’re not alone.
Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman’s office issued its annual report on consumer grievances last week (March 2), a number that soared to 9,568 complaints and inquiries in 2014, up 10 percent from the previous year.
The top 10, as logged by the AG’s consumer protection section:
Top Colorado Consumer Complaints (2014)
|1||Debt Collection Companies||1,371|
|2||Fraudulent or Unwanted/Spam Email||713|
|4||Utility Complaints (cable, telecom and satellite)||431|
|5||Fraudulent or Unwanted Telephone Calls||295|
|7||Automobile Dealers, New and Used||148|
|8||Real Estate Services||126|
|9||Internet Shopping Services||107|
|10||Telephone (cell phones and equipment)||103|
In a common scam of the debt collection variety, residents have reported receiving a call from someone impersonating law enforcement or a government agency and being threatened with arrest and prosecution.
“Out of fear of prosecution, victims end up sending a ‘settlement amount’ to the scammers using prepaid money cards to settle the alleged debt and allegations,” Coffman said in a release. “Legitimate law enforcement entities and government agencies do not, however, threaten arrest or prosecution for unpaid consumer debts and would never send an arrest warrant via email.”
Coffman’s office has a website dedicated solely to consumer fraud issues, StopFraudColorado.gov. The office has also initiated a series of ads that have been featured on billboards, TV and as web banners.
Currently featured are an alligator representing investment fraud and a snake that is the very representation of a snake oil salesman. According to AG spokesperson Carolyn Tyler, the campaign has drawn a strong response.