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Colorado a leader in conusmer complaints

David Migoya
The Denver Post

Colorado consumers still complain at a higher ratio than people in any other state ” about fraud and other criminal efforts against them, according to a federal report.

And there’s more complaints being made. Consumer fraud complaints in the state rose a whopping 56 percent last year, to 17,755 from 11,364 in 2007.

That’s one complaint for every 277 Coloradans. It’s causing law enforcement officials to wonder whether there’s a jump in crime, better reporting by victims or whether the economy is having a broader impact.

The most frequent fraud beefs were of debt-collection agencies followed by problems Coloradans had with Internet service providers, including complaints of undisclosed fees, the survey by the Federal Trade Commission shows.

In cases involving criminals, they are “looking for every advantage they can, using the situation at hand such as job scams during a down economy,” said Jan Zavislan, Colorado deputy attorney general for consumer protection.

Greeley and surrounding Weld County remained in second place last year ” this time behind the folks in Napa, Calif. ” for the ratio of fraud complaints in a specific area, the report shows.

The number of fraud complaints in the Greeley area grew from 1,359 in 2007 to 1,988 last year, roughly one for every 119 residents.

Colorado Springs ranked 42nd and Denver 74th among 382 metropolitan areas surveyed, up from prior rankings.

The annual FTC report is from a database containing 7.2 million complaints from 1,700 law enforcement agencies, local offices of the Better Business Bureau and consumers.

Identity theft was still America’s most reported fraud last year, with 313,982 complaints, a 21 percent increase from 2007.

“It’s not just organized crime but the people down the street who are looking for your information to use against you, many just to keep their lights on,” said Michael Prusinski, vice president of LifeLock, an identity-theft protection firm.

Colorado ranked 10th among states for the frequency of identity-theft complaints, about one for every 100 people.

Employment-related fraud ” where someone uses another person’s Social Security number to get a job ” again was the most reported ID-theft complaint in Colorado for 2008. Credit- card fraud ” using someone else’s personal information to acquire a card ” was a distant second.

David Migoya: 303-954-


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