Mount Vernon News

By Mount Vernon News
January 16, 2013 9:18 am EST


DANVILLE — In this economy, a $7,000 government grant sounds like a good thing, but chances are it’s just another in a long list of scams which have swept the area in recently, and John Fongheiser would like people to be on their guard.


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He said he received a call Tuesday from a person claiming to be from a United States government agency. His caller ID just said the call was from out of the area. The person told Fongheiser that he had been awarded $7,000 in grant money and all he needed to do to claim the award was to provide a checking account or credit card account number and the money would be deposited within the next 45 minutes.

Knowing that it sounded too good to be true, Fongheiser, pressed by the caller to provide the account information, said he would have to think about it. When he asked the caller for a callback number, the caller hurriedly hung up.

Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher said Fongheiser did the right thing. He advised that residents should not to give out personal information, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source. This includes bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, drivers license information or even personal contact information.

“These people can be pretty persuasive. That’s what they do,” said Thatcher. “The easiest thing to do is just hang up if you’re not comfortable.”

Thatcher also recommends that people contact the local police department or sheriff’s office if they feel they have been scammed. Any information such as the business name, address or phone number is helpful when reporting a possible scam.

Individuals can also report scam attempts to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. That can be done online on the Attorney General’s website.

A Howard resident also reported a scam involving a third-party company that claimed to be able to pay off credit cards and reduce the interest rates. They appeared to bring in representatives of the credit card companies on conference calls and offered lifetime rates on the cards. However, in order to do this, the caller advised there would be an $800 fee and would need to provide a bank account number in order to deposit funds to pay off the credit cards.

After disconnecting the call, the Howard resident called the credit card companies and has since been issued new cards and account numbers.

Contact Pamela Schehl

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