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Colorado AG shares Coronavirus-related consumer complaints

Hundreds of scam complaints helping investigators
Posted at 4:31 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 16:39:27-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Attorney General has joined a coalition of more than thirty attorneys general from across the country to fight back against price gouging. Here in Colorado, the attorney general's office is already working to respond to hundreds of complaints from March alone about COVID-19 scams.

Colorado consumers are under attack from scammers, fraudsters, and price gougers looking to take advantage of the fears and uncertainty that come along with the Coronavirus pandemic, but complaints to the attorney general's office are helping investigators take action.

Scammers are preying on the fears surrounding the Coronavirus and state and federal authorities are trying to cut them off. In Colorado, Attorney General Phil Weiser vows to work with federal investigators to track down the criminals.

"We are going to work with all federal partners including the US Attorney's Office so that if a scammer is somewhere else, it could be another country, we want to do whatever we can to get the word out," said Weiser.

In the month of March alone, 300 Coronavirus-related complaints were filed to the Colorado Attorney General's Office. Complaints were filed about pricing, refunds, robocalls, texts and emails with bad links to gain access to your device, and false deals like work from home schemes.

The most prominent complaints centered around pricing of critical supplies like toilet paper and other hygiene items, cleaning supplies, food, and medical supplies including masks.

33 attorneys general including Weiser are banding together calling out third party sellers like Amazon, eBay, and Facebook Marketplace complaining that more than half of the hand sanitizers and masks sold on Amazon spiked 50 percent in price since the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency.

"So working with 32 states we've gotten this message out and I'll tell you these online companies when 32 state AG's come together in a bipartisan group it gets their attention and we are getting more cooperation from them than we've ever had before," said Weiser.

Colorado residents also reported unfair refund policies tied to lodging, travel, lift tickets, and skiing equipment. It's something the a-g wants to know more about.

"A lot of companies have said oh we will give you a refund or credit, but then they're not doing it we want to hear about that because people are often by the terms of service are entitled to them,” said Weiser.

"To report your consumer concerns to the Colorado Attorney General's Office you can call that number on your screen or visit stopfraudcolorado.gov

In addition to the work at the Colorado Attorney General's Office, the U.S. Attorney for Colorado says prosecuting fraud tied to the Coronavirus pandemic is now a top priority.