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Department of Consumer Affairs Releases List of Top 10 Scams of 2019

2/6/2020

Media contact: Devyn Giannetti: (216) 443-8393; dgiannetti@cuyahogacounty.us 

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OH – The Department of Consumer Affairs today released its list of the top 10 scams for 2019.
 
Robocalls of all types plagued Cuyahoga County residents last year. Social Security imposter scams topped the list of reports made to Consumer Affairs. In these scams, callers pose as law enforcement and tell consumers their accounts are about to be frozen because of fraudulent activity involving their Social Security numbers.
 
Computer tech scams remained on the top 10 list, but scammers began to change their tactics. In the past, these callers posed as repair techs from well-known computer companies and sought access to consumers’ computers. Last year, many tried to entice consumers to interact with them by offering them refunds.
 
 
“If someone contacts you and wants a payment, computer access or account information, end the conversation and contact us right away,” said Director of Consumer Affairs, Sheryl Harris. “Scammers are smooth-talkers, but we can help you identify and report a scam.”
 
There are many ways county residents can protect themselves against scams:
 
• Don’t answer or return calls from phone numbers you don’t recognize. Letting unexpected callers go to voicemail lets you screen out suspicious calls. Ignore calls that contain threats that something terrible will happen if you don’t send immediate payment—for example, threats your account will be seized, your electric will be cut off or you’ll be sued or arrested.
 
• Don’t engage in calls promising you a refund, prize or grant money—these are ploys to get you to pay fees or share your account numbers. Know that retail gift cards are scammers’ favorite form of currency. If anyone asks you to share or send images of gift card numbers to pay fees, fines or bail, don’t do it!
 
• Don’t get sucked into the drama of a call from someone claiming to be a grandchild or relative who is in jail and needs gift cards to pay bail money. Jails don’t accept retail gift cards or money wires. If someone tells you that the call must be kept secret or that you’ll be in trouble if you hang up, it’s a scam.
 
Report scams to the Scam Squad at 216-443-SCAM (7226) or online at consumeraffairs.cuyahogacounty.us.
 
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The Department of Consumer Affairs’ mission is to make sure people who live or shop in Cuyahoga County get what they pay for.