Ohio phone scams refer to fraudulent activities done through phone calls and text messages to steal information and money from unsuspecting Ohioans. In Ohio, various governmental agencies and local county officials regularly issue notices to residents of the state, warning them of the latest phone scams uncovered and providing tips on how to block phone spam.
The Office of the Ohio Attorney General provides Ohioans with a platform for reporting scams that they may have either fallen victim to or witnessed. Ohioans can also perform an online search for consumer complaints that have been filed with this office.
The most common phone scams reported to the Office of the Ohio Attorney state of Ohio include:
- Imposter Scams: in these types of scams, the scammers pretend to represent either governmental agencies or established businesses;
- Grandparent Scams: these types of scams are typically targeted at seniors;
- Tech Support Scams: these scams involve scammers claiming to be technicians that can rectify computer problems;
- Job Scams: in these types of scams, job seekers are contacted with job offers and are asked to pay a facilitation fee;
- Lottery/Sweepstakes Scams: in these scams, scammers claim that Ohioans have won a lottery or a prize and ask for a fee to claim these prizes;
- Charity Scams: in these types of scams, the scammers ask for donations and gifts by claiming to be charitable organizations;
- Ticket Scams: in these scams, victims are tricked into paying for event tickets without ever receiving the tickets or a refund;
- Student Scams: in these scams, students are targeted through offers of educational grants, student loan reliefs, part-time jobs, and apartments;
- Travel Scams: these scams involve the scammers offering potential victims cheap or free vacations
What Are Ohio Impostor Scams?
An Ohio impostor scam is a scam in which an individual contacts a potential victim and claims to be an official government agent or the representative of a well-known establishment. They make their targets believe them by using caller ID spoofing to impersonate reputable individuals and organizations. The most common examples of impostor scams in Ohio are IRS scams, where scammers call or text Ohioans, claiming that they owe taxes, and threaten to arrest them. In some cases, the victims are told to contact a particular number. A variation of this involves contacting retirees and claiming that their Social Security Account Number has been suspended. These calls usually lead to the scammers asking for personal information or the outright payment of a fee to rectify alleged issues. Scammers typically use technology that spoofs their phone numbers, making the victim believe that the calls or messages are from a credible source.
Persons that receive these types of calls are advised to hang up immediately and contact the agency or establishment that the scammer claims to represent through a verified phone number. Governmental agencies and well-known establishments typically have their contact numbers displayed on their websites.
What Are Ohio Grandparent Scams?
Ohio grandparent scams are scams that are targeted at senior citizens in the state. In these scams, an elderly person is contacted by an individual posing as the person’s grandchild and claiming to be in trouble. These scammers typically claim to be stranded out of town and ask for money to return home or pay off a debt. Sometimes, the scammer claims to be ashamed of the trouble they are in and asks the grandparent not to contact their parents or siblings. One way to avoid falling prey to this scam is by asking the caller a question that only the real grandchild would be able to answer. Another way is by calling the parents or siblings of that particular grandchild to confirm the story.
What are Ohio Tech Support Scams?
In Ohio tech support scams, the potential target receives a call from an individual claiming to work for a legitimate tech company. The scammer tells the target that their computer has been infected by a virus or malware and tries to convince them that the problem can only be solved by installing certain software. In reality, this software grants them backdoor access to the person's computer. Tech support scammers may try to gain their potential target’s confidence by not asking for any payment until the problem has been solved. However, their main goal is to gain remote access to a person’s computer. Once this happens, the scammer will be able to access any personal information available on the computer. This includes banking information. Ohioans can avoid this type of scam by restricting remote access to their computers to only trusted technicians and by not clicking on virus-warning pop-up messages when browsing.
What Are Ohio Job Scams?
These scams typically target Ohioans that are either looking for jobs or trying to earn extra income. The most common job scams reported in Ohio are mystery/secret shopper jobs. Potential targets are contacted via phone call or text with a job offer and are told to pay an upfront fee to set up an office or purchase materials required for the job. Sometimes the target is sent a check to deposit it and asked to transfer some funds to another individual while waiting for the check to clear. This check is usually a dud, and any funds sent to it will be lost. Ohioans who receive these types of job offers are advised to conduct independent research on the company that offered the job before paying any fees or divulging any personal information.
What Are Ohio Charity Scams?
These scams involve scammers contacting potential targets and asking them to donate to a charitable cause. These scammers may claim to represent a reputable charity organization. They typically solicit cash and gift donations to help indigent persons or persons who are sick by appealing to their targets' emotions. Falling prey to this type of scam can be avoided by adequately researching the charity organization that the scammer claims to represent and ensuring it exists before sending any cash or gifts.
How Do I Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Phone Scam?
Most phone scammers use robocalls to fish for targets and then switch to live calls perpetuate their cons. Anyone can fall victim to a phone scam. However, the likelihood of doing so can be reduced by doing the following:
- Limit the number of unsolicited calls you receive by registering your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry;
- Always remember that caller ID can be spoofed;
- Hang up if the caller insists that you provide personal information like your bank card details, Social Security Number, date of birth, and mother's maiden name;
- Be wary of callers that pressure you to act immediately;
- Be wary of calls or texts with job offers or loan offers that require an upfront payment;
- Be wary of callers claiming that you have won a vacation, lottery, or prize. In most cases, when the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is not:
- Block all suspicious phone numbers to prevent them from trying to call you again;
- Identify unknown callers by running their phone numbers through reverse phone lookup searches;
- Make sure that you carry out your own research before sending money to any organization;
- Contact your bank immediately if your bank card details have been compromised or if you have already made a payment to a scammer;
- Report all scams to the Office of the Ohio Attorney General. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.