Better Business Bureau Research a business or find local contact information: www.bbb.

org Do Not Call Registry 888-382-1222 www.donotcall.gov Free Annual Credit Report 877-322-8228 www.annualcreditreport.com (Watch for other credit report offers that charge you) Ohio Department of Aging Long-term Care Ombudsman: 800-282-1206 www.aging.ohio.gov

Ohio Department of Commerce Investor Protection Hotline: 877-N VEST 411 (877-683-7841) www.com.ohio.gov Ohio Department of Insurance Medicare OSHIIP Hotline: 800-686-1578 Consumer Hotline: 800-686-1526 www.insurance.ohio.gov Ohio Department of Veterans Services: 877-OHIO-VET (877-644-6838) www.dvs.ohio.gov Save the Dream Ohio Foreclosure Prevention Help: 888-404-4674 www.savethedream.ohio.gov

For more information, to report a scam, or to schedule a speaker on consumer protection issues, contact Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s office at www. OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515. For TTY, please call Relay Ohio at 800-750-0750.

Fake check scams Someone sends you a check and asks you to deposit it and return some of the money via wire transfer. Regardless of the pitch, the result is the same: The check is counterfeit. It will be returned to your bank unpaid, and the full amount will be deducted from your account. Never wire transfer money to a stranger. Grandparent scams Watch for con artists posing as grandchildren. They may call and say, “Hi Grandma” or “Hi Grandpa,” and report that they are stuck in another country and need you to send money via wire transfer. Of course, any money you send will go to the scammer, not to your real grandchild. When in doubt, hang up and call a trusted family member. Identity theft This occurs when someone fraudulently uses your personal information, such as your bank account number or Social Security number, to obtain credit, take out a loan, receive medical treatment, get identification, or otherwise pretend to be you. Investment fraud A scammer might offer you a “risk-free” investment only to steal your money. All investments involve risk, so consult with trusted family members and friends before you invest. Living trust scams Beware of people who make exaggerated or false claims about probate costs or the tax advantages of living trusts. These scams usually target lower income consumers. Contact an attorney for advice. Phishing Some scammers pretend to represent your bank or a government agency and ask for your bank account number, password, or Social Security number. Your bank will never request your personal information unexpectedly. Do not respond to such requests.

Phony charities You may receive letters or calls from someone who is only pretending to represent a charity. Before you donate, ask how much of your donation will actually go to the charity, and verify that the charity is legitimate by calling the Attorney General’s Help Center at 800-282-0515. Prizes/sweepstakes scams Someone claims that you have won a lottery or other prize, but you’re asked to pay a fee, often via wire transfer, to collect your winnings. This is a scam. Legitimate sweepstakes are free and require no purchases. Reverse mortgage abuse A reverse mortgage is not a scam; it is a loan accruing interest that allows older consumers to convert home equity into cash. However, some unscrupulous salespeople might pressure you into taking out a reverse mortgage that has very high fees.

Signs of a scam
• • • • • • • You’re asked to send money via wire transfer. You win a contest you never entered. You’re pressured to “act now!” You must pay a fee to receive a prize. Your personal information is requested. A large down payment is requested. A company refuses to give written information.

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