EL PASO COUNTY — At one point or another you've probably received an official looking letter in the mail with phrases like "final notice" or "open immediately". They're meant to grab your attention, but they aren't always legitimate. News5 takes a look at why you may want to take a few extra minutes to read the fine print in those unsolicited mailers.
It's not uncommon for us to receive mailers promising student loan consolidation or mortgage management services. As we found, these mailers often contain official looking seals or logos, but they don't necessarily have any affiliation to that government agency or organization.
”I just went out and pulled it out and I make sure to read each piece to make sure if it’s something important or not,” said El Paso County resident Kevin Curry.
When Curry took a closer look at this mailer delivered to his home, he believed it was misleading and explained why.
”What bothered me is it is deliberately designed to look like it comes from the county or an official government office. It has the disclaimer of course, but it’s in little tiny font,” said Curry.
Curry realized this mailer that reads “El Paso County Medicare Benefit” wasn’t affiliated with the county itself, but he's concerned others may overlook the fine print.
”I’m afraid that they will think that it’s official and when the sales person talks to them they’ll have to do this,” said Curry.
He reached out to News5 hoping others will see this story and take a second look at their mail before responding to any unsolicited letter.
”Talking about medicare or losing out on medicare benefits and do not discard this mailer are a little more worrisome and that’s why I reached out,” said Curry.
Fraud experts say while these tactics may appear misleading to some, it's not necessarily illegal.
“Now, what makes this legal is two things… one, they have to notify you that they aren’t a part of the government, and two they have to actually have an opt out. But here is the trick. A lot of times you look at the back of this document, this is filled with thousands of words of fine print text and sometimes it’s buried in here,” said “Dr. Fraud” J. Michael Skiba of Colorado State University Global.
Bottom line, if you believe you're receiving misleading mailers, Colorado's attorney general wants you to report it.
We discovered lawmakers are currently working to iron out new legislation in our state to better protect consumers and our information to defend against potentially misleading marketing tactics.
”So we are working on regulations over the next year to protect consumer privacy. During that time, we want consumers to tell us what matters to you,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser told News5.
Remember, if you ever have a question about something that comes in the mail or a call or text you get you can always reach out to us here at News5 for help and if we don’t know the answers we’ll try to find out.
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