COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Attorney General's Office tells News5 in 2021 consumer protection investigators received almost 14,000 complaints, a 15% increase from 2020.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser says it's a sign that's more important than ever for consumers to be careful with who they trust and choose to do business with.
"Constant vigilance. You let your guard down and a fraudster will be taking advantage," Weiser said from a podium as he stressed the importance of consumer protection at a town hall in Colorado Springs this week.
His office revealed the top 10 topics for consumer complaints in the last year.
Topping the list were complaints about retail sales.
"What I hear and what I see is a lot of sellers are trying to pull a fast one on people where people end up saying wait a minute, I paid for something and I didn't get what I paid for, or I'm getting billed for something that I didn't ask for," said Weiser.
That's followed by unemployment scams and automotive sales and service issues.
"People buying a car are paying more than they have before. We know used car prices have gone way up," said Weiser. "Unfortunately when you're at a time when people are a little more afraid, or concerned. They are more vulnerable."
Rounding out the top 5 are professional services and commercial and residential home services and repair.
District Attorney for the 4th Judicial District Michael Allen says he wants to know details if you've been ripped off in these areas.
"On the enforcement side of things, make sure that you're collecting as much detail as you possibly can. Phone numbers, email addresses, locations of where people are reaching out to you from," said Allen.
State consumer investigators were busy with vacation and travel complaints in 2021 and expect more with spring break approaching.
"When you buy some service, some trip, make sure you know what you're buying and if you don't get what you're buying tell us about it at stopfraudcolorado.gov," said Weiser.
Debt collection, health care services, telecommunications, and real estate issues round out the top 10 complaints.
The Attorney General says consumers can easily find themselves in a costly medical bill mishap.
"For example, there are some times the stand-alone emergency rooms, that you might think are an urgent care center, you get there and all of a sudden you are billed for being in an emergency room. You're like, I didn't know this was an emergency room," said Weiser. "So you need to ask questions upfront and be an informed consumer and when you are taken advantage of, let us know about it. We want to protect you."
You can report fraud, scams, and other consumer issues to the Colorado Attorney General's Office by visiting stopfraudcolorado.gov.
If you ever find yourself in a situation you're unsure of that might be a scam, you can also reach out to us at News5 Investigates.
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