Mar 4, 2024 - News

Coloradans lost $164 million to scammers last year

Illustration of a laptop wearing glasses and moustache set disguise.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Coloradans lost $164 million to fraud in 2023, up from $140 million in 2022 and nearly double the amount in 2021, according to a new Federal Trade Commission report.

Why it matters: Scammers are targeting everyone — from older adults to the young and computer-savvy — with Americans of all ages losing a record $10 billion last year.

By the numbers: Nearly 41,000 fraud reports were filed by Colorado residents last year, with the median loss per victim totaling about $500, FTC data shows.

  • However, that's likely a significant undercount, as most people don't report, Denver-based AARP fraud expert Mark Fetterhoff tells us.

Threat level: Coloradans are seeing an increase in losses as scammers deploy increasingly aggressive and deceptive tactics, Fetterhoff says.

  • Some of the latest tricky trends include creating fake cryptocurrency investment platforms and computer virus protection programs, both intended to steal people's money.
  • FTC data shows the most common types of scams reported in Colorado in 2023 were imposter scams, identity theft, online shopping and loans.

What they're saying: "Scammers don't want you to think about what you're doing and they don't want you to ask someone else. If you do one of those things … there's a really good chance you're going to avoid the fraudulent situation that you're in," Fetterhoff advises.

  • If you encounter a scam, it's important to file a consumer complaint, Attorney General Phil Weiser told Axios Denver in a statement. Complaints are "critical to our work and allow us to understand trends," he said.

Driving the news: Weiser's office is working to launch a revamped fraud protection website "very soon" that will make it easier to file fraud reports and access resources.

The bottom line: Be careful, trust your gut, and protect your personal and financial information.

  • Dale Dixon, BBB Great West + Pacific's chief innovation officer, told Axios it's critical for consumers to do research about the companies contacting them and avoid unsolicited loan offers.
  • Remember: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
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