Defeating Deception: Gauging the Fraud Knowledge & Experience of Coloradans 50+
State data from the Federal Trade Commission's Consumer Sentinel shows that Colorado ranks 15th in the nation for the number of identity theft complaints in 2016 and 23rd in fraud complaints (33,745). Though down slightly from 2015, the Sentinel data indicates consumer complaints in the U.S. are still over three million. Thirteen percent are related to identity theft and the rest are related to fraud or other complaints. In Colorado, the top complaints were around debt collection, imposter scams, and phone or mobile services. The top identity theft complaints in the state were around employment, tax fraud and credit card fraud.
The AARP Foundation Elderwatch Program commissioned Alan Newman Research (ANR) to conduct a phone survey of Coloradans age 50 and older to gauge their experience with fraud or scams, their perception of fraud, knowledge of scams, and what measures they have taken to prevent being a target or victim or at risk for either. This study was fielded in September 2017 and yielded 1,000 completed surveys.
Key findings include the following:
- Most Coloradans age 50 and older are concerned about becoming the victim of identity theft with almost half (44%) of all respondents saying they are very or extremely concerned.
- Half (51%) of all older Coloradans noticed fraudulent charges on their debit or credit card, and two in five (40%) have received a notice that personal or account information has been compromised.
- When asked if they have called or ordered a free credit report from annualcreditreport.com in the past year, most (83%) say no.
- Over one in five (22%) failed their fraud/scam knowledge quiz, answering 5 or fewer of the 10 questions correctly.
- Older Coloradans need to know where to report potential and actual scams – most turn to no one, banks, credit unions, or credit card companies. Few report incidents to authorities.
If you believe you have been victimized by a scam or wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report here.