DeWine issues scam alert for businesses

February 2, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says businesses should be wary if they receive e-mails that look like they are from the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC. The FTC has advised his office that scammers have sent thousands of phony e-mails that appear to be from the commission with the claim that consumers have filed complaints about their businesses.

“Just as scams targeting citizens are unacceptable, so are those that aim to harm Ohio businesses,” DeWine said. “Everyone needs to be informed and alert to prevent themselves from becoming victims.”

DeWine said businesses can protect themselves by not clicking on links in any unexpected or suspicious e-mails. In addition, he said more information about the scam can be found at www.business.ftc.gov.

DeWine also took the opportunity to highlight other scams that businesses have faced, including:

  • Business directory scams – Scammers pretend to be associated with the local city government, chamber, or phone directory pages. They call saying it’s time for the business to renew ad space in the local community map or directory and ask for credit card numbers over the phone, using high pressure tactics. The ads are non-existent and the scammer steals money using the credit card number given.
  • Government regulation scams – Scammers charge businesses a fee to help them comply with a new government regulation. They might even pretend to be the Secretary of State and ask for payment to comply with a new requirement or registration. Businesses in Ohio can receive free information and assistance from their local or state governmental agencies.
  • Fake invoice scams – A business receives an invoice for a product or service never ordered. The scammer hopes the business will pay the invoice before realizing it never ordered or received the products.

He said businesses and consumers can also visit www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov to learn more about scams and ways to avoid them. Complaints can also be filed at the Attorney General’s website or by calling 800-282-0515.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com