From The Akron Beacon Journal Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Friday announced a new website and media campaign to educate consumers against scams.
The new site, www.ohioprotects.org, will be a one-stop shop for consumers to learn about scams, research businesses and file a consumer complaint. It will also connect to the attorney general’s site, but is more focused on consumer needs, DeWine said during a morning news conference to announce the new initiative.
The agency is using $2 million, money the agency has received from lawsuit settlements, for the initiative. It will include three video commercials highlighting scams and will air in all Ohio markets in various mediums, including television, online, radio and cinema ads, DeWine said.
The ads take a humorous spin and highlight that not all scammers are as obvious as portrayed in the commercials.
The three types of scams highlighted include:
• The computer-repair scam: A caller will say there’s a problem with your computer and they want access to fix it. But instead, the scammer will take information from your computer and possibly add a virus to the computer to make the consumer pay to remove it.
• The IRS scam: A caller threatens that the IRS will be suing the person or threatens some other sort of action for money. Variations also include people pretending to be from other law enforcement agencies.
• The contractor scam: The person will ask for money up front or a significant amount and not complete the job.
“While we are very aggressive in trying to prosecute people who commit scams and have done that relatively extensively, the sad truth is that for many people, once the scam artist has been successful and taken money from them, they will never see [that] money again,” said DeWine, who acknowledged that the advertisements and website do not include his name. DeWine, who has not officially announced if he will run for governor in 2018, but confirmed he is interested, said that was a conscious decision to leave off his name.
DeWine did, however, say the longer he’s been attorney general, the more he’s realized he should use his “bully pulpit” to educate consumers about these scams, because there are still many people who are caught off guard and fall for them.
“This initiative will help Ohioans understand how scams may not be obvious at first and how the attorney general can help them,” he said.
DeWine was joined at the news conference in Columbus by representatives of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau and AARP, who all praised the effort to educate consumers.
“If it works the way we hope it works, there will be fewer Ohioans who are getting ripped off,” DeWine said. “We want fewer victims.”