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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > September 2013 > Don’t Bite on Phishing Schemes

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Don’t Bite on Phishing Schemes

In a typical phishing scam, a con artist pretends to be an employee of a bank or a government agency and asks for confirmation of account information by providing account numbers, passwords, or Social Security numbers. The scammer hopes consumers will fall for the scam and reveal personal information.

Recently, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office has received more complaints about phishing schemes. In one variation, a scammer calls a consumer and claims to represent a medical company. The “representative” informs the consumer that a medical supply order has been placed; however, personal information or a small amount of money is due to cover shipping charges. Consumers who reveal personal information or credit card numbers to cover the shipping increase their chances of identity theft or other fraud. For instance, providing credit card information for a $10 shipping fee allows the scammer to make more expensive charges to the card.
Similar to phishing schemes, robocalls also are used by scammers to obtain personal information. In a typical robocall, a consumer receives a phone call featuring a recorded voice. The recording prompts the consumer to press a button to learn more about a particular product or service. The recording claims that the consumer may press a different button in order to be placed on the company’s “Internal Do Not Call List.” By pressing either button, the consumer is confirming that their phone number is active. As a result, the consumer will continue to receive unwanted phone calls.
To avoid these types of scams:
  • Maintain a record of products and/or services that you have ordered. If you receive a robocall, do not press any buttons. Hang up immediately.
  • If the call is from someone with whom you do business, call them back at a number you are familiar with.  
  • Just as you would not give your personal information to a stranger who knocks on your door, never give your personal or credit card information over the phone to someone you do not know.
  • In order to reduce unwanted phone calls, add your phone number to the  by calling the National Do Not Call Registry 888-382-1222.
If you suspect a phishing scam or an unfair business practice, report it to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.