COLUMBUS — This is National Consumer Protection Week. The Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Department of Commerce offer tips to older Ohioans and their families to help recognize the signs of scams and know how to avoid them.
“When older adults are unexpectedly forced to manage the impacts of financial crimes against them, it can be devastating on many levels. It affects the people in their lives, too,” said Ursel McElroy, director of the Ohio Department of Aging.
“We are working with state and local partners to strengthen Ohio’s consumer protections to prevent elder financial abuse and hold those who would victimize seniors accountable,” added Sheryl Maxfield, director of the Ohio Department of Commerce.
Consumers can reduce their risk of falling for a scam by being skeptical and adopting safe habits, online and off.
Be alert to calls or emails that demand immediate payment, sometimes by unusual means, such as gift cards.
Don’t let anyone pressure you into signing a contract or buying a product or service. Ask for written information and take your time to decide. If they won’t let you, it’s probably not a good idea to do business with them.
Remember that you can’t win a lottery or sweepstakes you didn’t enter. If someone says you have won a prize but you must pay a fee, it’s probably a scam.
Never give your banking information to someone who contacts you unexpectedly over the phone or internet, even if they claim to be someone you do business with, like your utility company. Hang up and call them back via the contact information on your bill.
For more consumer tips and resources, visit the Ohio Department of Commerce’s website at www.com.ohio.gov.
Learn more about consumer scams that target older adults, along with other types of elder abuse and exploitation, on the Ohio Department of Aging’s website at www.aging.ohio.gov.