Ohio AG warns consumers about financial scams

By Bryan Cohen | Aug 19, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline) - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned consumers Friday about financial scams, including fake grant offers, affecting Ohioans preparing for the new school year.

In the past year, dozens of Ohioans reported losing hundreds of dollars to grant scams. More than 60 Ohio residents filed complaints about grants in the last year and half of the consumers reported losing money. The average reported loss in the scams is approximately $1,000.

"It's a busy time of year for many families, and it's important not to let your guard down," DeWine said. "A good rule of thumb is that if you have to pay money to receive a grant, a scholarship or a job, it's probably a scam, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

In the scam, an Ohio resident receives a phone call that is seemingly from a 202 Washington, D.C., area code. The caller claims the consumer won a government grant and says the consumer must send a $200 to $600 wire transfer, money order or prepaid card to India or another country. Consumers who send money are often contacted again and asked to send additional money.

There is actually no grant and consumers who send money are likely to lose all of it.

DeWine also warned Ohioans about identity theft and job scams. Identity theft occurs when consumers give out personal information and click on certain links that cause personal information to be used fraudulently. In job scams, employers who post job listings may say they are out of the country and will pay the applicant to process funds or run errands.

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