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Beware of the dangers of scams

"Buyer beware.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

"Buyer beware." That’s the message from the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.

Sheriff Tim Sexton said his department has received several calls and complaints filed against a potential loan scam that was advertised in local newspapers.

The scam starts when a potential consumer calls the number listed and is asked several pertinent financial questions. Later, the company may call back and verify that the consumer has been approved, but that’s when the shake down begins.

Consumers are then told they cannot claim the loan until they pay an "up-front" fee. This money, consumers are told, is used as collateral for the loan.

Sexton said consumers should thoroughly check into any advertisement before providing vital information to someone over the telephone.

"A good rule to follow," Sexton said, "if the solicitation involves you paying some ‘up front sum’ to receive money, it is a scam."

Sexton further warned consumers that this scam has involved telephone numbers with area codes of 647, and 416, which are Canadian telephone exchanges.

Sexton said residents can check area codes by referring to the front section of the phone book, where telephone area codes are listed. If a company reports that it operates in one state but a consumer finds otherwise, Sexton said, all further correspondence should stop.

In this scam, Sexton said, faxed documents reported a Michigan address but with a Canadian telephone number.

Sexton said consumers interested in sales offered over the telephone, they should ask the company to send printed documentation.

"Don’t be afraid to ask questions," Sexton said. "A legitimate company will not mind questions."

Sexton said consumers should ask telephone solicitors if the company is licensed to serve Ohio residents, license number, phone numbers, supervisors name, and other information to decide if the company is legitimate.