In recognition of National Military Consumer Protection Day July 16, the Consumer Protection Section of the Colorado Attorney General’s Office unveiled its list of the top military consumer complaints gathered during the second quarter of 2014. Unfortunately, service members are an attractive target for scam artists because they face a number of demands on their time and resources, including deployments. Since March 1, 2014, the Consumer Protection Section received 156 reports of fraud from consumers who voluntarily selected their military affiliation. More than 400,000 veterans reside in Colorado and more than 50,000 active duty members of our nation’s armed services are either from Colorado or are stationed locally.
“Our consistent outreach, warnings about prevalent scams, and efforts to inform consumers on how to protect themselves is making a difference in our efforts to fight fraud, said Attorney General John Suthers. “It is particularly guiling that fraudsters target our service members and their families because they are busy protecting our country oversees or focused on their important duties here at home.”
The Top 5 Types of Complaints Received from Military Consumers:
1. Debt collection companies
2. Mortgage lenders
3. Utility companies (cable, telcom and satellite)
4. Automobile dealers (new and used)
5. Magazine subscription companies
A number of these complaints involve businesses and individuals against whom the Colorado Attorney General has already brought enforcement actions, including businesses involved in the National Mortgage Settlement and several businesses involved in magazine sales and telemarketing.
While these complaint numbers highlight the efforts made towards reaching Colorado’s military community, consumers are encouraged to review additional resources on our web site for information on how to identify consumer fraud and report it. The Colorado Attorney General’s Office developed the Consumer Guide for Military Members and Their Families to help military service members and their families protect themselves.
The Consumer Fraud Unit also distributes educational resources free of charge to consumers and other agencies. To make a request or view downloadable content, please visit the publication order form at:https://www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/press/publications/publication_order_form.
Consumers may also sign up to receive the Consumer Fraud Bulletin or visit the Office of the Attorney General’s Facebook page for fraud alerts and important updates. If a consumer believes they have been defrauded or victimized by a Colorado business or nonprofit, they may wish to file a report by visiting www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/complaint or by calling 1-800-222-4444.