The law enforcement community recently came together in Denver at a Common Ground Conference sponsored by the Colorado Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission. Speakers included the District Attorney's office that serves Adams and Broomfield Counties, the US Attorney's office, the Colorado Office of Attorney Regulation, the FCC, SEC, CFPB, the US Postal Inspection Service, the US Secret Service, AARP, Consumers Union, the Better Business Bureau, and representatives from the Judge Advocate General's Corps from Buckley Air Force Base.
What did we learn? Among other things:
- Collaboration among the attorneys general, the FTC and the FCC has reduced mobile cramming (packing unauthorized charges onto cell phone bills), and resulted in millions of dollars in fines paid by companies like T-Mobile.
- Some for-profit schools are finding new and creative ways to get money from students — promising things they can't deliver and luring students into loans they can't afford. And the law enforcement community in Colorado, and around the country, is paying attention.
- There's significant collaboration among law enforcement in Colorado. For example, when agencies with criminal authority are building a case to put the scammer away, they work appropriately with civil law enforcement agencies which can shut down the scheme and freeze their assets.
We also discussed payday lending, debt collection, scams that target military personnel and veterans, and all the consumer education resources available for free.
Cynthia Coffman, Attorney General of the State of Colorado, kicked off the day and captured the tone of the entire day. “The problem for all of us is that, as consumer complaints continue to grow, our resources do not. Individually, we do not have the advocates, investigators or prosecutors to address all of these consumer issues, let alone even just the most egregious ones. But together, working cooperatively on many of these issues, we can have a much greater impact.”