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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > September 2011

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Scam artist hacks Facebook account, offers grant

A Southeast Ohio consumer reported that while she was chatting with her sister on Facebook, her sister said she had received a government grant.

The consumer’s sister forwarded a link about the grant, and soon the consumer began chatting with an official who said he was from the Federal Government Humanity & Empowerment Program.


Scam alert: advance fee loans

Consumers throughout Ohio are reporting losing money to advance fee loan scams. In some cases, they send hundreds of dollars out of the country for loans that are nonexistent.

For example, a Central Ohio consumer received a call saying she qualified for a loan worth up to $5,000. In order to receive the loan, she first had to send $300 via wire transfer to India. She sent the money, but never received the loan. It was all a scam.


Is your phone safe from hackers?

Many mobile phones today are essentially mini-computers. They can be conveniently used to browse the Web, check e-mail, and make financial transactions.

But without proper security features, hackers may be able to use fairly simple technology to manipulate your phone and the information stored in it.


High school video contest now open

Ohio high school students can demonstrate their creative talents and have a chance to win scholarship prizes by entering the 2011 Take Action High School Video Contest.

To enter the contest, high school students may submit a 60-second video on Internet safety. Entries may come from individuals or teams of two students.


Buying online? Beware of payment scams

Scam artists may try to lure buyers away from the established payment mechanism so that they can more easily steal buyers’ money.

They often prefer payment via wire transfer, because a wire transfer leaves very little paper trail, helping scammers get away with their ploys.


Air duct cleaning: hype vs. science

Advertisements for air duct cleaning may emphasize the health risks posed by dirty or moldy ducts in your home, but knowledge about the health benefits of duct cleaning is limited.

Additionally, air duct cleaning services may advertise a low price, but then charge you a much higher amount once a representative is in your home performing the work.