Tag Archives: Ohio Attorney General

Ohio A.G. Cracks Down On Illegal Robocalls

Article Presented By Classic Brands

(Columbus) — Attorney General Dave Yost’s Robocall Enforcement Unit has issued warning letters to 10 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers who are providing support for customers that may be engaging in illegal conduct.

“When it comes to disconnecting robocallers, we are in this battle for the long haul,” Yost said. “There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work to get to the place where my robocall unit is ready to take action. And it starts with Ohio consumers reporting the nuisance calls.”

The letters serve to put these VoIP providers on notice, informing them of the relevant laws prohibiting their actions – and those of their customers – at both the federal and state level.

With information obtained through the Industry Traceback Group, the Attorney General’s Office has detected activity that potentially violates the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act, the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Ohio’s Telephone Solicitation Sales Act, and recent amendments to Ohio Revised Code 109.87.

If the Robocall Enforcement Unit finds that the companies continue to provide support to telemarketers’ by transmitting illegal robocalls over their VoIP networks, the Attorney General’s Office will pursue enforcement actions.

As an additional step in combatting the scourge of robocalls, AG Yost and Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel will co-host the National Association of Attorneys General 2022 Robocall Summit in Detroit.

The July 12-13 Summit includes attorneys general and their representatives from across the country. The first day is limited to government agencies; the second is open to the public.

To date, the Robocall Enforcement Unit has fielded more than 69,000 complaints about unwanted calls, including 7,405 in 2022.

Ohioans can report unwanted robocalls to the Robocall Enforcement Unit by visiting OhioProtects.org or calling 1-800-282-0515.

Severe Weather Damage Brings Out Scammers & Fake Charities

Article Presented By Horizon Connects

(Columbus) — With the warm-weather storm season heating up, Attorney General Dave Yost is reminding Ohioans to watch out for home-repair scammers and fake charities soliciting donations on behalf of individuals affected by storms.

“Shady storm chasers make my blood boil – they look to severe weather watches and warnings to try to make a quick buck,” Yost said. “And bogus charities come from the same swamp. Their goal is to rip off people who are trying to help.

“My office works hard to show Ohioans how to spot these swindlers.”

Unscrupulous contractors travel to storm-damaged communities to offer their services to homeowners, but then perform shoddy work or no work at all. In many cases, they go door to door, claiming that they can complete the work immediately. 

The Attorney General’s Office advises consumers to follow these steps to avoid home-repair scams:

  • Research the business. Ask for identification from the company representative; note the person’s name, address and phone number; and be cautious of any contractor who won’t provide this information. Check out the company’s reputation with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau. You can also search for possible previous lawsuits filed by the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Section.
  • Get multiple written estimates. Obtaining at least three written estimates from three distinct contractors could help you weed out bad apples. Beware of contractors that have only a few projects for you to review.
  • Don’t make large payments in advance. Instead, pay in increments – for example, a third at the beginning of the job, a third after half of the work is completed to your satisfaction, and the final third when the job is completed.
  • Get all promises in writing. Insist on a written contract detailing the costs, the work to be done, the starting and end dates, and any verbal promises made by the contractor. The contract should also note whether subcontractors will be used and whether the contractor has or will obtain the necessary licenses and permits. Insist on being provided a copy of every document you sign or initial.
  • Understand your cancellation rights. If the contract resulted from a door-to-door sale, you generally have three days to cancel the contract, according to Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act. The seller should give you written notice of these rights.
  • Consider paying with a credit card. Paying with a credit card, as opposed to paying in cash, generally gives you greater protections to dispute unauthorized charges. 

When it comes to making charitable donations, donors should research charities and ask questions. Donors should follow these steps to ensure that gifts are used as intended:

  • Visit the attorney general’s Research Charities webpage to see whether charities have complied with registration requirements, to connect with charity watchdog organizations and to learn what others say about the group. News articles and other postings can also provide useful details about groups, board members and key employees.
  • Request to view 990 forms, which most tax-exempt groups must file with the Internal Revenue Service. These forms describe where organizations get their funding and how they spend it.
  • Support familiar, established organizations with a strong track record of success and experience in dealing with natural disasters. Tragedies can sometimes prompt the creation of new charities that may or may not have the needed expertise to provide meaningful relief or run a charity effectively.
  • Talk with friends and family about unfamiliar solicitations. Have they heard of the group? Do they know of anyone who has been assisted by it?

Ohioans who suspect unfair sales practices or misuse of charitable resources should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.orgCharitable.OhioAGO.gov or 800-282-0515.

A.G. Warns of Newer Killer Opioid Now in Ohio

Presented By Hometown-Motors, Inc.

(Columbus) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is warning Ohioans of the increased prevalence of nitazenes, a group of dangerous synthetic opioids that can be up to 40 times more potent than fentanyl.

“Frankenstein opioids are even more lethal than the drugs already responsible for so many overdose deaths,” Yost said. “Law enforcement and the public need to pay attention to these emerging hazards.” 

A bulletin recently issued by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) says that nitazene compounds – from a drug class known as benzimidazole-opioids – were originally synthesized in the 1950s to research their analgesic effects. They are not approved for medical use anywhere in the world but are currently being made in clandestine labs.

In the first quarter of 2022, BCI reported 143 nitazene cases in Ohio, up from 27 cases in the same quarter of 2021.

In some instances, nitazenes are being found in combination with other drugs, primarily fentanyl and fentanyl pharmacophores but also tramadol, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and PCP analogs.

Recent studies show that nitazine compounds can be anywhere from 1.5 to 40 times more potent than fentanyl.

Additional doses of naloxone may be required to reverse overdoses involving nitazene. Officers and first responders, BCI cautions in its bulletin, should handle all items suspected of containing nitazenes or fentanyl-related substances with caution and proper personal protective equipment.

Ohio A.G. Opens Applications for School Drug Use Prevention Grants

Presented By Accurate Heating, Cooling & Plumbing

(Columbus) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is accepting applications for $2.66 million in grant funding for local law enforcement agencies to provide drug use prevention programming to schools during the 2022-23 academic year.

The annual Drug Use Prevention (DUP) Grant Program pays up to 50% of salaries for DARE-certified officers and school resource officers (SRO) who provide in-class instruction and direct counseling.

Officers can teach from a wide range of approved curricula – including “Botvin Life Skills,” “DARE Keeping it Real,” “I’m Special,” “Reach Out Now” and more. The grant money can also be used to pay for one-on-one counseling time and school- sponsored events.

“When it comes to combating drug use, I believe local sheriffs and local superintendents know what will work in their communities better than some bureaucrat in Columbus,” said Yost, referring to the program’s flexibility. “What works in Ashland or Ashtabula counties may not work in Cuyahoga or Columbiana counties. That’s why the grant covers various curricula as well as direct counseling and special events.” 

The deadline for submitting applications is May 3.

Since he took office in 2019, AG Yost has awarded more than $8 million directly to local law enforcement agencies for this much-needed instruction, money that local law enforcement agencies appreciate.

“Without this grant, we would not be able to get out into the community, teach this material and build relationships with these kids,” said DARE Officer Eric Mericle of the Lima City Police Department.

Any Ohio law enforcement agency with certified DARE officers and/or SROs is eligible to apply for the grant. To learn more about the DUP Grant Program, visit the Attorney General’s website here.

Applications can be completed online here. Questions regarding the application process can be directed to Sam Gedert via email at sam.gedert@OhioAGO.gov or by phone at (614) 995-0328.