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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > February 2011 > Top ten scams of 2010

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Top ten scams of 2010


The New Year is well underway, but the top scams of 2010 still threaten unsuspecting consumers.

From fake checks to phony debt collectors, Ohio consumers reported dozens of scams to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in 2010, and many of those scams continue to circulate in 2011.

In 2010, top consumer scams included:

  1. Grandparent scams: Posing as grandchildren, scam artists called grandparents and tricked them into sending money. Some grandparents wired several thousand dollars to another country, believing their grandchildren were stranded and needed help.
  2. Medicare scams: In another ploy aimed at seniors, scam artists pretended to represent Medicare or the Social Security Administration to fish for seniors’ personal information. They asked for bank account and Social Security numbers, falsely stating seniors would receive new Medicare cards.
  3. Foreclosure rescue scams: Scammers continued to target homeowners by making false promises to help save their homes from foreclosure. They took homeowners’ money but never provided any real help.
  4. Timeshare scams: As consumers attempted to sell their timeshares, scam artists made false promises to help them. Consumers paid sums ranging from $300 to $3,000 but never received the service.
  5. Phony debt collectors: Posing as legitimate debt collectors, scammers contacted consumers and said they owed money on payday loans. In reality, consumers either did not owe the debt at all, or they owed it to someone else.
  6. Sweepstakes scams: Complaints about sweepstakes scams grew in 2010, as consumers reported receiving calls and letters stating they had won millions in foreign lotteries and other contests they never entered.
  7. Credit repair scams: Scammers told consumers that they could completely clean up their credit reports and improve their credit scores for a fee. As usual, the offers were too good to be true and consumers’ credit never improved. Accurate negative information cannot be removed from a credit report for a minimum of seven years.
  8. Fake check scams: Scam artists continued to use fake checks in 2010, often as part of sweepstakes or job opportunity scams. They convinced consumers to deposit the checks and then wire-transfer some of the money. Later the check was returned as counterfeit and consumers lost any money they sent.
  9. Shoddy home improvement work: From unfinished roofs to driveways that were never properly paved, shoddy home repairs affected consumers across the state.
  10. Facebook scams: With more than 500 million users, Facebook was a ripe market for scams. From a phony “dislike” button to a “Coca-Cola” video that lured victims into providing personal information, Facebook users had to navigate carefully.


Report a scam – Ohio Attorney General’s Office