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 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
Pennsylvania – 717-787-3391 or
New York – 8000-771-7755 or
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 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 for investor education information.

Securities and Exchange Commission

Visit 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