Ohioans Report Police and Fire Scams

7/22/2016

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today warned that several Ohioans have reported receiving suspicious calls asking for donations supposedly to support police and fire causes.

The calls reportedly ask consumers to give money to support wounded police officers and firefighters, underfunded departments, scholarship funds for families of officers, or similar causes. Consumers say the callers refuse to answer questions or to provide viable call-back numbers.

The calls appear to come from Ohio phone numbers, but the numbers could be spoofed or the calls could be made over the Internet, meaning the caller could be located somewhere else entirely.

“Charity scams take money away from legitimate organizations,” Attorney General DeWine said. “While we encourage people to be generous, we also encourage them to be cautious. A little research can go a long way. If you get a call asking for a donation, check it out to make sure it’s not a scam.”

Signs of a potential charity scam include callers who:

  • Make vague claims about a cause.
  • Use a name similar to a well-known organization.
  • Provide little or no detailed information.
  • Refuse to answer questions.
  • Refuse to provide a call-back number.
  • Use a “spoofed” phone number.
  • Demand immediate payment.
  • Ask for payment via wire transfer or prepaid card.
  • Ask for payment to an individual instead of an organization.

Not all calls seeking charitable donations are potential scams. Legitimate charities and professional solicitors, which generally are for-profit businesses paid to collect donations, can and do seek donations over the phone. When a charitable organization calls a consumer seeking a donation, the caller must provide the name of the organization and the location of its principal place of business. Professional solicitors also must provide this basic information.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Charitable Law Section maintains a registry of charitable organizations and professional solicitors that raise money in Ohio. Both must annually file informational returns or financial reports with the Attorney General’s Office. The Attorney General also investigates alleged fraud and takes legal action to protect charitable funds.

To determine whether an organization has registered with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office or to report suspicious charitable activity, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at 800-282-0515 or www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov.

This Fourth of July, There’s No Excuse—

Bryan Ohio – Every year Americans head out on our nation’s highways to celebrate the Fourth of July at picnics, parties, parades and more. Unfortunately, for many, the celebrating includes drinking alcohol, which too often leads to drunk driving on one of the most heavily traveled holidays of the year.

There were 397 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2014 over the Fourth of July holiday (6 p.m. July 3rd to 5:59 a.m. July 7th). Of those fatalities, 164 people (41%) were killed in crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher.

In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes nationwide—almost a third of all crash fatalities.

And from 2010-2014, 39 percent of all traffic fatalities over the Fourth of July period occurred in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes.

In every state and the District of Columbia, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher. Yet, among the 164 people killed in drunk-driving crashes over the 2014 July Fourth period, 113 people died in crashes involving at least one driver or motorcycle operator with a BAC of .15 or higher—almost twice the set limit.

NHTSA data shows that young drivers (18 to 34 years old) are especially at risk of driving drunk. In fact, 58 percent of the drivers 18 to 34 years old who were killed over the July Fourth period in 2014 were driving drunk (BAC of .08 or higher). Motorcycle operators are also overrepresented as the highest percentage of alcohol-impaired drivers in fatal crashes. In 2014, more than a quarter (29%) of motorcycle operators in fatal crashes had BACs of .08 or higher.

Drunk drivers are also more common at night. Over the July Fourth holiday in 2014, more than two-fifths (42%) of the drivers in nighttime (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) fatal crashes were alcohol-impaired, compared to 12 percent of drivers in fatal crashes during the day.

If you’re caught driving drunk this Independence Day, you will be arrested. The consequences of drunk driving are that serious. Not only could you put your life and the lives of others at risk, but a DUI arrest means a loss of freedom and money, including going to jail, losing your license, and paying steep financial expenses. The average DUI cost? About $10,000.

“This Fourth of July, don’t risk losing your life or your independence by drinking and driving. Help make everyone’s holiday in Bryan Ohio safer by driving sober, said Officer Matt Arnold “Remember,” Officer Arnold warned, there’s no excuse—Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”

Officer Matt Arnold recommends these safe alternatives to drinking and driving.

Plan a safe way home before the fun begins.
Designate a sober driver or use public transportation to get home safely.
Download NHTSA’s SaferRide mobile app at http://www.nhtsa.gov/link/saferride/.
If you see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact law enforcement
If you know people who are about to drive or ride after drinking, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

For more information about the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov.

 

 

 

 

Attorney General DeWine Offers Charitable Giving Tips Following Orlando Tragedy

COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today offered charitable giving tips to Ohioans who want to donate in the wake of the Orlando tragedy.

“Following the tragedy in Orlando, people in Ohio and across the country have shown an outpouring of generosity. They want to know how they can help,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We’re offering charitable giving tips to help people make informed decisions, avoid charity scams, and make sure their donations are used how they want them to be used.”

Tips for making charitable donations after a tragedy: •Carefully evaluate donation requests. Following a national tragedy, some sham charities pop up to take advantage of people’s generosity. Don’t assume that charity recommendations on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites have been vetted. The first donation request you find may not be the best.

  • Evaluate charities using resources such as the Ohio Attorney General’s Office (or another state attorney general’s office), IRS Select Check, Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, and GuideStar.
  • Beware of “look-alike” websites or accounts. Be skeptical of charities or groups with names that sound similar to well-known organizations. They may be intended to confuse donors. If you receive a message from an organization asking for a donation, confirm that the request truly is from the organization, and not an imposter, by contacting the organization directly or visiting its website.
  • Be careful when giving to newly formed charities. Some charities that are formed shortly after a tragedy have good intentions but lack the experience to properly handle donors’ contributions. Established charities are more likely to have experience to respond following a tragedy and to have a track record that you can review.
  • Review claims carefully. Some groups sell merchandise online and claim that “100 percent of the proceeds” will benefit a specific charitable purpose, but this claim does not necessarily mean 100 percent of the sales price will go toward the cause. Contact the organization to ask how much of each purchase will support the cause. If the organization cannot give you an answer, consider donating another way.

Tips for peer-to-peer fundraising or crowdfunding: •Contact a charity before raising money on its behalf. Sometimes individual supporters raise money for charities through peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, such as by setting up a page on a crowdfunding site. If you want to set up a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, contact the charity in advance to get permission to use its name and to make sure the representations you make on your page are correct.

  • Before donating, find out how your contribution will be used. If you want to make a contribution on a peer-to-peer fundraising page, verify that your donation will go directly to the charity versus to the individual supporter.
  • Check fees. Find out what percentage of your donation will go to the charity, versus the website, and find out whether you will be charged extra fees when you donate.
  • Review privacy policies. Find out what the website will do (if anything) with your personal information. Be wary of websites that do not provide a privacy policy.

Tips for giving to an individual or family: •Verify an account. Ask the fundraiser whether there is a trust or deposit account established for the individual’s or family’s benefit. Contact the banking institution to verify the existence of the account, and check locally to confirm.

  • Do not give cash. Contribute directly to the fund, not to an individual. For example, send a check that is payable to the fund, not to an individual, and mail it directly to the fund.
  • Understand that your contribution may not be tax deductible. Contributions earmarked for relief of a particular individual or family are not tax deductible, even if they are made to a qualified charitable organization. Before making a donation, ask whether the charitable contribution is tax deductible, and verify your findings with your tax advisor or the IRS. The fact that a charity has a tax identification number does not necessarily mean your contribution is tax deductible. Ask for a receipt showing the amount of the contribution and stating that it is tax deductible.
  • Respect the family’s requests. If you want to establish a fund to assist victims of a tragedy, be especially careful to respect the wishes of the victim’s family and friends. Obtain written permission to use the names or photographs of any person or organization you want to use in your fundraising appeals. Be specific and transparent about how the funds will be used and how quickly collected funds will be distributed. If there are multiple purposes for the fund, such as funding future community needs, be clear about those purposes. Many donors give with the expectation that all funds will be distributed quickly and solely to victims and their families.

Those who suspect a charity scam or questionable charitable activity should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at http://www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov or 800-282-0515.

 

Now Hiring

Notice is hereby given that a civil service entrance level examination will be given for the position of Patrol Officer for the City of Bryan, Ohio. The position of Patrol Officer starts at $18.44/per hour. After successful completion of a one-year probation, pay increases to the current contractual rate of compensation.

Physical fitness testing will be conducted at the Bryan City Schools Field House, 1350 West Fountain Grove Drive, Bryan, Ohio on Saturday, June 18, 2016 at 10:00 A.M. Written examinations for applicants successfully completing physical testing will be conducted on Saturday, June 25, 2016 at 10:00 A.M. at the Bryan Police & Fire Complex, 304 West High Street, Bryan, Ohio 43506.

All applicants for the above mentioned position must be between 21 and 36 years of age and possess a high school diploma or General Education Degree (G.E.D.). Successful candidates must obtain or exceed a minimum score for each of the four (4) physical fitness tests, obtain or exceed the minimum required written exam score of 70%, pass a background check, successfully complete an oral interview, pass a voice stress analyzer, psychological, and physical examination. The candidate appointed to the position must meet the current residency requirements for Police Officers of the City of Bryan. Police Officers shall be, or become residents of Williams County or adjacent Ohio Counties, namely Fulton, Henry and Defiance Counties within twelve (12) months of the date of their employment.

All applications must be completed and filed with the Secretary of the Bryan Municipal Civil Service Commission located in the Police and Fire Complex, no later than Friday, June 17, 2016 at noon.

In order to receive additional points on the written exam, all applications filed must contain, if applicable, a copy of official record/certification signifying honorable discharge from or satisfactory active military service, Ohio Peace Officer certificate and any documented degree issued from an accredited college.

Click It or Ticket

From May 23 to June 5, 2016, local law enforcement personnel will participate in the national Click It or Ticket campaign in an effort to save lives through increased seat belt use. This enforcement period comes ahead of the Memorial Day holiday, one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.

According to research conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, while 88.5 percent of passenger vehicle occupants buckled up in 2015, almost 50 percent of occupants of fatal crashes nationwide are not restrained. In some states, the rate is as high as 70 percent unrestrained in fatal crashes. This fact gravely highlights the need for increased enforcement and awareness of seat belt use.

This year, NHTSA is aiming to increase campaign participation even more by coordinating a “Coast to Coast” seat belt enforcement effort, to include all law enforcement around specific interstate corridors, such as I-10, I-40, I-70, and I-80. This effort does not limit Click It or Ticket enforcement to these corridors, or prevent states from participating in the campaign; rather, these corridors will serve to link and highlight the “Coast to Coast” seat belt enforcement effort. All law enforcement agencies can join the effort to emphasize the “Coast to Coast” effort.

In 2014, nearly half of the 21,022 passenger vehicle occupants killed in crashes were unrestrained, according to NHTSA. During the nighttime hours of 6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m., that number increased to 57 percent of those killed. Law enforcement agencies will write citations day and night, with a zero-tolerance approach.

“Hundreds of thousands of citizens will be traveling this Memorial Day weekend, as well as throughout the summer vacation season. We want to make sure that people are buckling up to keep themselves and their families safe. It is the greatest defense in a vehicle crash,” said Officer Arnold.

For more information on the Click It or Ticket campaign, please visit http://www.nhtsa.gov/ciot.

Prince’s Last Words on Video? Watch Out for This Click Bait Scam!

April 22, 2016


Better Business Bureau would like to thank BBB Accredited Business KnowB4 for providing this warning:

PrinceYesterday, news broke that Prince Rogers Nelson was found dead in his home in Minneapolis at age 57. He was found unresponsive in an elevator and was declared dead shortly after. Internet criminals are going to exploit this celebrity death in a number of ways, so be careful with anything related to Price’s death: emails, attachments, any social media (especially Facebook), texts on your phone, anything. There will be a number of scams related to this, so Think Before You Click!” 


BBB Tips to Protect Yourself from “Click Bait” Scams:

BBB urges consumers to take steps to protect yourself from scams shared through email and social media:

  • Don’t take the bait. Stay away from promotions of “exclusive,” “shocking” or “sensational” footage. If it sounds too outlandish to be true, it is probably a scam.
  • Hover over a link to see its true destination. Before you click, mouse over the link to see where it will take you. Don’t click on links leading to unfamiliar websites.

For more information on scams, check out BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scamstopper). Report scams (whether or not you’ve lost money) to BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker).

Attorney General DeWine, OhioHealth Launch Ohio Sexual Violence Helpline: 1-844-OHIO-HELP

(DUBLIN, Ohio)— As part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Heather Herron Murphy, manager of OhioHealth’s Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio (SARNCO), today announced the launch of a new helpline serving survivors of sexual assault and relationship violence across the state.

Advocates with the Ohio Sexual Violence Helpline at 1-844-OHIO-HELP (1-844-644-6435) began taking calls this morning. The new helpline, which is the first confidential, statewide hotline dedicated to serving survivors of sexual assault in Ohio, is staffed by SARNCO 24-hours a day, seven days a week and is open to all callers living anywhere in the state.

“Sexual assault is an under-reported crime, in part because those who have been assaulted don’t always know who to call for confidential support, and in some parts of Ohio, there is no one locally who they can call at all,” said Attorney General DeWine during a news conference this morning at OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital. “Now, thanks to this new helpline, no matter who you are, and no matter where you live, advocates will be available 24/7 to direct sexual assault survivors to local resources or just listen and provide comfort.”

“Today, numerous advocacy programs provide support to survivors of sexual assault in Ohio,” said Murphy. “But despite these remarkable efforts, there are still areas across the state that do not have 24-hour access to confidential sexual violence advocacy, support and resources. The Ohio Sexual Violence Helpline aims to fill in those gaps, and to support existing services by connecting survivors in their counties to their local resources.”

The Ohio Sexual Violence Helpline will act as the primary helpline for residents living in counties without a local 24-hour helpline and will work in collaboration with, not in place of, hotlines that are currently in operation elsewhere in the state.

More than a dozen advocates, who are trained in safety planning, crises intervention, and basic coping skills, will staff the helpline and provide callers with support and information on local community resources. Advocates can also provide recovery books and emergency door and window locks to those who need them.

The helpline is funded by a $1.2 million grant that Attorney General DeWine awarded OhioHealth as part of the “Ohio Attorney General’s Expanding Services and Empowering Victims Initiative.” The initiative aims to fund new programs in Ohio that will empower survivors to overcome their victimization.

According to the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, there were at least 4,640 rapes reported statewide in 2014.