Be aware of scams

Published 10:03 am Tuesday, October 18, 2016

While many may wish to win the lottery, many more are fearful of being scammed. Whether it is an offer that comes in the mailbox or something they see online, all too often we see victims of a myriad of fictitious ploys to steal from others.

That is the case with the recent caution given by Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor relating to a scam that is coming through the mail in the form of fake checks where residents are asked to cash a check and send a portion of the proceeds back to the sender as a fee before receiving funds from a sweepstakes or settlement.

Unfortunately, while the letter and check may look real, no monetary portion is coming back. Add to that, in most cases, the resident is also on the hook for the amount of the check that is fake with their financial institution.

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Here are some tips from the Lieutenant Governor that can help protect residents from becoming a victim of these types of scams.

Taylor advises consumers take precaution by following these steps:

• Question the validity of correspondence containing spelling or grammatical errors.

• Checks from companies you do not do business with are likely fraudulent.

• Contact the company listed on the check to investigate its legitimacy.

• Second guess correspondence offering a prize or money in exchange for a fee or specific personal information, such as bank account or social security numbers.

• Settlements, sweepstakes or contests requiring you to send money to a post office or drop box or an overseas address before claiming your prize is likely fraud.

Ohioans who believe they have been the victim of an insurance fraud scheme should call the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1527.

Taking the necessary precautions and knowing the potential risks may save a windfall of problems for Ohio residents.