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Coloradans Get Up to Speed on COVID-19 Scams


DENVER -- Using federal coronavirus stimulus checks as bait, criminals are finding new ways to separate Coloradans from their money. Eric Galatas has more.

On Thursday, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser will join a webinar organized by AARP Colorado to give residents tips for avoiding fraud during the public health crisis. Weiser said scammers ramp up efforts during times of crisis, when people are afraid and looking for hope and solutions.

"So, for example, 'You want to get tested quickly, and not have to wait on lines? Just go ahead and give us your credit card number.' These are the sorts of scams that we're seeing now," Weiser said. "And we need people to know about them so they can protect themselves."

Weiser said since the federal government has not yet cut a single stimulus check, anyone promising cash now is up to no good. He added the government will not require any payment to get checks, and will not call to ask for Social Security or Medicare numbers.

To register for the webinar, visit www.aarp.org/co and click on upcoming events.

Robocalls continue to be a tool of choice for crooks. Weiser advised not to assume an incoming call is an official from a company or the government. The best way to ensure you're talking to someone legitimate is to initiate the call yourself.

"Those robocalls are designed to get you to part with your money. So the best thing to do when you get one of those robocalls, don't even answer it. Let it go to voicemail," he said. "If it's legitimate, you'll get a voicemail. But most of the time they're scammers and they won't even leave one."

Scammers also have set up websites to sell fake treatments and other bogus products, and have convinced people to donate money to fake victims' charities using emails, texts and social media posts.

To report scams, contact Stop Fraud Colorado toll free at 800-222-4444 or online at www.StopFraudColorado.gov.

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