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Federal benefits to be paid electronically

The U.S. Department of the Treasury now requires all federal benefit and nontax payments to be paid electronically.

People applying for Social Security, Veterans benefits or other federal benefits on or after May 1, 2011 will receive their payments electronically starting with their first payment. People currently receiving federal benefit checks will need to switch to an electronic payment option by March 1, 2013.

Those who do not choose an electronic payment option at the time they apply for federal benefits or those who do not switch by the deadline will receive their benefit payments via the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card, so they will not experience any interruption in payment. People who are already receiving benefit payments electronically do not need to take action. They will continue to receive their payment as usual on the payment day.


Families, colleagues mourn Ohio's fallen officers of 2010

Grace Leon shared a special gift Thursday with the loved ones of the four Ohio peace officers killed in the line of duty in 2010.

The gift of hope.

“I want the survivors to know that sometimes life doesn’t bring you what you want, but I can assure you that life brings you what you need,” said Leon, whose late husband, Cleveland police officer Wayne Leon, was shot while making a traffic stop nearly 11 years ago. “I hope peace fills your hearts and loving memories bring you comfort.”


Events calendar lists many opportunities to learn

Are you a teacher?

Senior citizen? Child of a senior?


Dreaming of a spring vacation? Don't get duped

Spring is in the air and vacations are just around the corner. But before you book that long-awaited trip, remember to watch for travel scams and tricky marketing ploys.

Some companies offer “free” vacations, flights or other perks to entice you to sign up for a membership or a more expensive trip.


Don't pay for government job information

Although Ohio’s unemployment rate has dropped, scam artists continue to advertise phony job opportunities, hoping to take advantage of job seekers who may be desperate to find employment.

A recently reported job scam requests a $38 fee to apply online for state jobs and civil service testing. In reality, government job information is available for free at (state jobs) and (federal jobs).


Don't miss important recall notices

Tracking recalls can seem overwhelming, but left unchecked, defective products can cause serious injury or even death, especially to children.

For example, drawstrings on a child’s sweatshirt could cause strangulation, small parts of toys may pose a choking risk and recalled produce could cause food poisoning.


Don't let 'Grandparent Scam' phone calls fool you

“Hello Grandma?”

“It’s me. Me and my friend are in Canada and got stopped by the police. I need a $1,000 to get out. Could you wire it to me? Please don’t tell mom or dad. You know how they are. Thanks.”


Don’t let your family fall prey to “grandparent scams”

Grandparents across the state are continuing to lose money to scam artists posing as grandchildren.

Since January, the Attorney General’s Office has received dozens of reports of grandparent scams from consumers across the state. In some cases, victims lose $10,000 or more.


Dispute resolution: should you pay for it?

Where do you turn for help when you and a company disagree?

Some companies ask for large upfront fees for dispute resolution services, but other organizations offer free help.


DIRECTV complaint?

Ohio consumers who have outstanding complaints against DIRECTV dating back to January 2007 may be eligible for settlement money, if they file written or online complaints by May 30.

DIRECTV agreed to provide compensation for eligible consumers under a 2010 settlement with the Ohio Attorney General, 48 other states, and the District of Columbia to resolve allegations of deceptive and unfair business practices.

The settlement involved advertising, contract terms and other issues. If you believe you might be eligible, file a written or online complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office by May 30 at or by mailing a complaint form to the Consumer Protection Section, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, 30 E. Broad St., 14th Floor, Columbus, Ohio


Direct Deposit: theft protection for your federal benefit payments

Just months after the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced it is retiring paper checks for federal benefit payments and going all-electronic by March 1, 2013, the use of direct deposit is on the upswing – including in the Midwest.

Currently, 88 percent of Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments in the Midwest are made electronically. While that number is up from 85 percent seven months ago, residents of these states still rely on nearly 1.78 million Social Security paper check payments each month, putting their money at risk of theft or fraud.


Did you know ...?

The office of Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine works hard to protect Ohio’s families.

Did you know that the Ohio Attorney General’s office …


Destined to Be a Star? Evaluate Talent and Model Agencies

Before getting involved with a model or talent agent, be prepared and do plenty of research so you don’t lose money.


Criminal prosecution of Ohio scammers

In mid-July, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen K. Haller announced the indictment of three individuals for engaging in a tree-trimming theft operation that targeted elderly victims in Greene, Butler, Franklin, and Montgomery Counties.

The indictments were the latest development in a statewide effort to increase the number of consumer protection cases prosecuted criminally.


Cracking down on cyber fraud

Cyber fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes across the nation. Scammers are increasingly using e-commerce websites like eBay and craigslist, or social media platforms like Facebook to prey on consumers. 


Consumer lawsuit: Attorney General DeWine sues Cleveland TV retailer

In November, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine sued Cleveland-based TV retailer Northeast Electronics, Inc. for multiple violations of Ohio consumer law.  


Complaint resolution for small businesses

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine recognizes that Ohio’s small businesses are essential to growing the state’s economy.

In support, the Attorney General’s office provides a free complaint dispute resolution process for small businesses and nonprofits. This effort has helped save small businesses thousands of dollars. 


Celebrating seniors during Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month, a time to honor our seniors and to encourage everyone, regardless of age, to live life to the fullest. 

Older Ohioans are a valuable resource, with their knowledge, skills and experience. Unfortunately, seniors have long been a target of scam artists, and as the population of older Ohioans grows, that trend likely will continue.

According to recent reports from U.S. Census data, Ohio’s median age is growing, and the number of Ohioans who are 65 and older grew by about seven percent from 2000 to 2010.


Celebrate National Consumer Protection Week March 6–12

Understanding your consumer rights is important every week of the year, but during National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), government and nonprofit organizations across the country gear up to provide a wealth of information on avoiding scams and making the most of your money.

In honor of NCPW 2011, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is joining other government and nonprofit organizations to provide events and workshops throughout the state.


Car buyers: Beware of flood-damaged cars

This spring, floods devastated many regions throughout the United States.

In addition to the immediate environmental impacts, flooding also can cause serious damage to vehicles, and some damaged vehicles eventually get sold to unsuspecting buyers. 


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.


Buying a car on Craigslist? Watch for scams

Fraudulent postings are a common occurrence on Craigslist. If you plan to buy a vehicle from a Craigslist seller, be very cautious.

A Trumbull County consumer said he found a 2005 all-terain vehicle for sale on Craigslist. The seller told him to send $1,600 via Western Union to London, and promised to send the vehicle. Although the consumer sent the money, the vehicle never arrived.


Beware of tax scams

Filing income tax returns is an annual task that few enjoy. But be careful! During tax season, some scam artists use the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) name or logo to try to steal unsuspecting consumers’ financial information.

A Franklin County resident said he received an e-mail message that appeared to be from the IRS. The e-mail indicated that the consumer was late in submitting his W-2 form and instructed him to click on a link to send the updated form. Fortunately, the consumer recognized that the e-mail was a scam, and he did not click on the link nor provide any personal information.


Beware of Internet pop-ups

When online, you will likely encounter a pop-up advertisement or two. In addition to being a nuisance, they may bring viruses and send out your personal information.

Pop-ups are generally new web browser windows used to display advertisements. Pop-under ads are similar to pop-up ads, except that the ad window appears hidden behind the main browser window rather than in front of it.


Attorney General DeWine focuses on protecting families

On Jan. 10, Mike DeWine took office as Ohio’s 50th attorney general.

In his inaugural remarks, Attorney General DeWine explained his top priority: to protect families. He said it is especially important to protect the most vulnerable among us.


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.


A look back at some of the accomplishments made in 2011

It was a busy first year at the Ohio Attorney General’s Office since Mike DeWine took the oath of office last January, pledging to protect Ohio’s families.

Here are a few of the year’s highlights of what Attorney General DeWine and his office have been accomplishing:


Free personal finance training for teachers

Starting this year, personal finance education will be mandated for all Ohio high school students entering high school for the first time on or after July 1, 2010. To help teachers prepare for the mandate, state agencies are offering Teacher Academies to provide training and resources.

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