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Scams are on the rise in Colorado – how you can protect yourself | #socialmedia | #hacking | #aihp

DENVER (KKTV) – The COVID pandemic impacted virtually every part of daily life these last two years, and scams were no exception.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office confirms it received more scam reports over the last year than it did the prior year.

“The pandemic was a boon for scams. Over the last year, we got 15 percent more reports than the prior year,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser.

In a recent on-on-one conversation, Weiser walked our Call For Action team through what scams have been on the rise, why the pandemic has helped them grow, and how consumers can protect themselves.

The top scams of 2021

Weiser’s office received more reports of retail scams than any other in 2021. Complaints included unauthorized memberships or subscriptions, service and delivery issues, and cancellation and termination issues, and many were related to the pandemic itself.

Unemployment scams — such as fake claims filed using a victim’s name and stolen personal information — were another big one last year.

“The top scams were ones where people were basically subject to different types of pandemic scams, including this unemployment insurance fraud scam where so many people were preyed on, maybe their identity was stolen,” Weiser told 11 News.

Below is the full list from the attorney general’s office of the top 10 biggest scams in Colorado in 2021.

Why have scams gone up during the pandemic?

In a nutshell, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided scammers with even more ways to swindle people out of money or personal information, Weiser said.

“The biggest scams over the last year have been scams related to the pandemic itself, often testing or sometimes cures. We had a recent case here in El Paso County … somebody said they’re giving test results except they weren’t actually compliant with what it meant to be a tester. They were telling people they were certified and they weren’t.”

It’s a common tactic used by these crooks to take advantage of current events.

“Scams will be opportunistic, which means when a Marshall Fire happens in Boulder, people will be more opt to prey on that in the Boulder area. When you’ve got droughts in other communities and they raise different issues, that becomes a subject for scams,” Weiser said.

And with all eyes on the war in Ukraine, expect more scams preying on people’s desire to help.

“Scams will always follow what hopes and prayers are out there … there are scams starting right now, ‘How do you help people in Ukraine,’ except they don’t actually help people in Ukraine, they make money for somebody else.”

How you can protect yourself

It’s critical to do your homework and watch for red flags.

“When someone is preying on a hope or a fear, don’t just act, make sure that what you’re doing is with a legitimate business,” Weiser said.

He went on:

“… Scam artists will do whatever they can to get people to part with their money, so you’ve got imposter scams, you’ve got dating scams, you’ve got government scams. All the time, it’s a single theme: How do you get someone to make a decision that they’re later going to regret?”

To stay one step ahead of these criminals, always be vigilant.

“No matter how you’re contacted, by the door, on social media, or an email, be vigilant. When someone tells you something that maybe doesn’t sound exactly right, please don’t act on it right away, check on it. Call the actual entity that might be texting you, Apple tech support for an example, and what they’ll often tell you is it’s not real, it’s an act, it’s a scam.”

Don’t let your guard down, don’t act right away, and don’t let scammers play on your emotions.

To report scams and fraud to the state, call this number: 800-222-4444.

More information can be found here.

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