COLUMBUS, OH — Scammers are using the COVID-19 pandemic to ripoff Ohioans.
Nearly six months ago, Ohio launched an anti-robocall initiative. Since its inception, nearly 30,000 robocalls have been investigated. Recently, the scams have taken the form of COVID-19 scams, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said.
“Scammers follow the news and create variations of common scams based on current events,” Yost said. “Among other things, the public should be on guard for scams related to COVID, charitable donations, and the upcoming election in an attempt to defraud them of personal information and money through robocalls and text messages.”
Earlier this year, in the heart of the pandemic, someone contacted a Delaware County woman pretending to be her grandson. He asked her to send him money so he could get home because he was stuck out-of-state due to travel restrictions.
Another Ohioan was sent a text message telling her to click a link so she could “accept her stimulus payment, Yost said. Scammers have also claimed to represent government agencies to gain bank account data for the stimulus check.
Ohio officials are now expecting a deluge of scams involving the upcoming election.
“Our nation’s enemies are working hard to disrupt our election, and others may be using it to line their own pockets by attempting to scam voters,” said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. “Don’t fall for it. Do your due diligence. Your vote matters, so make sure you get your information about the election from trusted sources.”
Here’s how Ohioans can protect themselves from robocall scams:
Never interact with a suspected scam robocaller in any way.
Carefully review terms and conditions when opting-in on websites that request a telephone number.
Research services offered by your phone provider or apps to block unwanted calls.
Register your phone number with the Do Not Call Registry online at DoNotCall.gov or by phone at 1-888-382-1222. However, know that political and polling/research calls from live callers are generally permitted as exceptions to the Do Not Call laws but robocalls to mobile numbers require prior express consent.
This article originally appeared on the Across Ohio Patch