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Credit Card and Debit Card Scams Target Ohio Residents

by Francine Huff

In recent credit card news, union workers in Ohio are the target of a credit card scam. The Ohio Attorney General's Office said it has received many complaints about pre-approved credit card offers that require advance fees. State officials also said unemployed workers in the state are being targeted by a scam that involves stealing debit card numbers.

Advance Fee Credit Cards

These advance-fee-credit-card offers require borrowers to pay a membership fee up front, but the fee does not guarantee approval for a credit card or loan. If an individual is approved for a credit card, they can only make purchases from a certain catalog. In many cases, there is no credit card or loan, and the borrower loses any fees paid.

People are being promised easy access to a credit card during a time when many are struggling to get approved for credit. "In tough economic times, we're all looking for a little relief and, unfortunately, scammers know it and work to exploit it," said Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray in a statement. "I strongly urge Ohioans to think twice before responding to deals or offers that sound too good to be true. And always read the fine print."

Guard Against Credit Card Fraud

You can take the following steps to guard against being taken by an advance fee credit card scam:

  • Be skeptical of ads that claim everyone is guaranteed to be approved for a credit card, even with bad credit
  • Never pay upfront fees to anyone offering credit cards
  • Avoid giving out personal information to unfamiliar individuals or businesses
  • Only apply for credit card offers from lenders you are familiar with
  • Check out credit card companies with your state attorney general's office or the Better Business Bureau

Text Messages to the Unemployed

Ohio officials also say that unemployed residents have received fraudulent text messages claiming to be from state agencies. The messages instruct recipients to call a phone number to reactivate unemployment benefits that have supposedly been suspended. The individuals are then asked for personal information that includes debit card numbers and PINs. Officials are urging people to ignore these messages and avoid giving out personal information.

Be in the know about which credit card offers are legitimate and which may be part of a scam. If you believe you have been the victim of a credit card scam or other type of fraud, notify your local authorities. Also, you may contact your state attorney general's office to file a complaint.

Published 12/31/09 (Modified 06/27/14)


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