IHS students learn to be better consumers

Published 9:49 am Friday, October 14, 2011

Students learning now what to look for as adults

What’s phishing and how do you protect yourself from online scams? What do you do if you have a disagreement about a purchase that was not to one’s liking?

Those were among the topics discussed Thursday in Doug Graham’s consumer literacy class at Ironton High School.

Ohio wants its future consumers to be more savvy and better educated. The state has mandated that, to graduate, students must pass a basic financial literacy course.

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Two representative of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, Rachel Wummer and Cornelius McGrady IV, offered “Know Your Rights, A Consumer Guide For Students.” The topics ranged from buying a new or used car to canceling a contract.

“Take it for a test drive, check the vehicle history, have it checked by an independent mechanic,” Wummer advised the students about used car buying.

Wummer and McGrady also discussed the darker side of consumerism: scams, identity fraud and the dangers of being too open about one’s personal life in that most public of places, the Internet. McGrady cautioned that items posted now that may seem innocuous enough to a young person but later be viewed as less-than-acceptable to a prospective college or job supervisor.

“Once its out in cyberspace, it’s there to stay,” McGrady said.

Graham said the whole point of the class is to make the students better consumers and more responsible adults — and to make them aware that not everyone they encounter in the future will have their best interest at heart.

“It’s going to hit you in the face in a couple of years,” he said. “I’m not saying this to scare you, I’m saying this to prepare you.”

The OAG is sponsoring a video contest for students. The subject is Internet safety and the top three winners get scholarships. The first place winner will get a $2,500 scholarship; second place, $1,500 and third place, $1,000.

The deadline for entry is Dec. 15. Details are available via the OAG website, www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov/TakeActionContest.