Preventing Identity Theft and Scams
Public Service Announcements
Don’t get scammed!
Who to Call:
If you think you have been the victim of a scam – or if you want to check out a company or an offer that you think might be suspicious – there are several places to turn:
Better Business Bureau
In Cleveland, 216-241-7678; in Akron, 330-253-4590, in Buffalo, 716-881-5222, or www.bbb.org. Contact to get complete histories of companies. Scams change names often, so not seeing a report about a company is not a good sign. Be wary, also, if a company has not responded to BBB requests for basic information. This is not a government agency, but if you are scammed, you may want to file a report to warn other consumers.
Attorney General’s Office:
Ohio – 800-282-0515 or www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov
Pennsylvania – 717-787-3391 or www.attorneygeneral.gov
New York – 8000-771-7755 or www.ag.ny.gov
Call if you’re unsure of a solicitation from a business or charity or if you’ve been scammed.
1-888-495-8501. This Canadian law enforcement agency specializes in cross-border telemarketing fraud. Call if you want to check out a pitch from Canada or if you have been victimized by a Canadian telemarketer.
Federal Trade Commission
Notify the FTC if your social security number has been used to commit identity theft at 1-877-438-4338 or www.ftc.gov/idtheft. Contact for brochures on common scams or to report a scam.
Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Securities
Call 1-800-788-1194 to check out if an investment or its seller is registered or has a history of complaints or to report an investment-related scam. Visit www.com.ohio.gov/secu/ for investor education information.
Securities and Exchange Commission
Visit www.sec.gov/investor/pubs.shtml to get information about frauds (click on Fraud under publications) or to file a complaint.
Getting Your Name Off The Lists!
Looking to get off junk mail and telemarketing list? Try these tips:
- Contact your credit-card companies and tell them not to release your name, address or phone number to anyone else for marketing, mailing or promotion purposes.
- If you move, do not fill out the post office’s change of address form. The information will be provided to third parties.
- Contact your phone company to change your listing in the phone book. Request that your name be listed without your address.
- When a telemarketer calls always say ” Put this number on your do not call list.” This “do not call” information is stored in the company’s database for 10 years.
- Write the Direct Market Association. Clearly state that you do not want telemarketing calls and/or direct mail. Include your address and phone number. DMA’s Preference Service address: P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, N.Y 11735-9008. You can also write: Telephone Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 9014, Farmingdale, NY 148 11735-9014.
Public Service Fraud Numbers
If you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, report it to the following credit reporting organizations:
Trans Union Consumer Fraud
Experian (TRW) Report Consumer Fraud