In the past, the District Attorney’s Office has provided the public with a list of known scams and consumer alerts. However, the sheer volume of scams that come to light every day makes it difficult to ensure that the information on this site is timely, relevant, and as up-to-date as possible. Fortunately, there are many other sites online that provide consumers with such information. Please visit the sites listed below to educate yourself about the current popular scams and to learn how to avoid being taken advantage of.
Don’t be a victim of any scam. Be smart, ask questions, demand documentation, make follow-up calls to agencies to check on references or past history, and educate yourself. IF IT’S TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS. Don’t be pressured into anything. Take the time to request a call back number and then you do your investigation.
Fraud and Scam Notification Sites
- Federal Trade Commission - Home Page
- Federal Trade Commission - Consumer Alerts / Do Not Call List
- Southern Colorado BBB Fraud Alerts
- Denver DA Fraud Alerts
- Top Ten Internet Scams
- Scam Busters
- Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft (PDF)
- Power Against Fraud (PDF by CASE Partnership)
- ALWAYS REDUCE YOUR AGREEMENTS TO WRITING before payment. Each party's obligations and expectations are then clearly spelled out.
- NEVER SIGN ANYTHING you don't understand. Once you sign a contract, you are normally bound to its terms, because it is the "best evidence" of the business transaction.
- NEVER SIGN a credit or sales contract that doesn't have all the blanks filled in. Get a copy of the contract for your future reference at the time you sign.
- GUARANTEES AND WARRANTIES should be in writing and signed. Oral promises are difficult to prove.
- SERVICE OR FINANCE CHARGES must be clearly spelled out in the contract. This is known as the "FULL DISCLOSURE" requirement of the law.
- BUY ONLY WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD. If you have a credit problem, contact a non-profit credit counseling service.
- TAKE TIME! DON'T BE PRESSURED INTO BUYING. If a salesman is legitimate, the same deal will be available tomorrow after you have had an opportunity to think it over. Always compare price and reputation. Discuss the opportunity privately with a friend.
- NEVER BUY anything from someone who shows up at your door uninvited. Avoid paying for anything "up front".
- INVESTIGATE AND VERIFY THE COMPANY'S REPUTATION before entering any agreement with them. A source to begin this investigation is the Better Business Bureau. Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau.
What is Consumer Fraud?
- Transactions involving fraud and deceit.
- Knowingly passing off goods or services as those of another.
- Knowingly making false representations as to the source, sponsorship, approval, connection of a person, or other false certifications as to the goods or services.
- Representing goods as original or new when in fact they are "second hand".
- Misrepresentation as to the particular standard, quality, or grade of goods.
- False advertising: making a false or misleading statement about goods or services in any advertisement addressed to the public.
- Bait and switch advertising: advertising an insincere offer to sell a product or service, not intending or desiring to sell that particular product or service, accompanied by disparaging the advertised product and then trying to sell you a higher-priced item; and failure to provide sufficient quantities of an advertised product to supply reasonably expected demand.
- Failing to deliver, at the time of installment sale of goods or services, a written order, contract, or receipt setting forth:
- 1. The name and address of the seller
- 2. The name and address of the organization which the seller represents;
- 3. All the terms and conditions of sale, including a description of the goods or services sold, stated in readable, clear, and unambiguous language.
- Failing to make full disclosure of credit conditions as required by the Colorado Uniform Consumer Credit Code.
- Setting up of referral sales prior to or at the time of purchase
- Failure to inform you on the credit contract of your right to cancel, within three business days, two special kinds of contracts:
- 1. The Home Solicitation Sale
- 2. Sales involving a security interest in your home as collateral
- Making false or misleading statements of fact about:
- 1. The price of goods or services
- 2. The reason for price reductions
- Soliciting for “pyramid” promotional schemes
- Offering for sale an article knowing that the identification (serial) number thereon is obscured or altered
- Using false weights or measures
- Offering for sale less than the represented quantity on the package of any commodity.
- Selling land twice
- Failure of a hearing aid dealer to cancel a purchase when asked to do so within 30 days of the delivery date
- Failure of a dance studio to allow a purchaser to cancel a contract at any time
- Failure of a health club to allow a new member to rescind his membership contract within 2 days, and the sale of a membership contract longer than 2 years
- Failure to allow the purchaser of a time-share condominium to rescind the sale within 5 calendar days, and failure to refund any down payment within 7 days of such rescission
Should you seek assistance from the District Attorney’s Office ?
No, there is no criminal violation:
- If the transaction does not fall under any of the outlined categories of Consumer Fraud, listed above
- If there was no misrepresentation
- If you simply changed your mind about a transaction and decided you didn’t get as good a deal as you thought you were getting
Yes, there may be a criminal violation:
- If the transaction was misrepresented to you
- If it falls under any of the specific categories outlined as Consumer Fraud, listed above
What can the District Attorney’s Economic Crime Division do ?
- Refer you to an appropriate law enforcement agency
- File a civil injunctive action to force discontinuance of deceptive trade practices when appropriate. Your actual damages, occasioned by the deceptive trade practice, are added to the injunctive relief in the legal action we take. The District Attorney’s Office attempts to recover restitution for victims of consumer fraud.
- Prosecute consumer fraud cases that constitute violations of the criminal law when appropriate.
Proving your Complaint
If you have a justifiable complaint, your chance of getting a satisfactory result depends partly upon your ability to help prove your case. You must be prepared to relate all the important facts concerning the transaction. Our office will ask you for copies of all contracts, advertisements, and all other written data, to prove who, when, what, where and how. You will need to provide that information as clearly as possible.