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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > May 2011

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Work-at-home offers usually scams

As the school year closes, many high school and college graduates will be hunting for jobs and considering job placement services or work-at-home opportunities. 

Some job placement services are legitimate, but others misrepresent their services, promote outdated or fictitious job offerings, or charge high fees for services that never lead to a job.


Need money for college? Watch for scams

With the cost of college steadily increasing, many Ohioans are looking for creative ways to finance a college education.

To apply for federal financial aid for free, visit Other similar-sounding websites and companies may charge fees for their services.

For example, a Central Ohio consumer said she completed what she thought was a free government application for financial aid. She later discovered that it was an application to a student aid advisory service that charged $79 to complete the application.


Federal benefits to be paid electronically

The U.S. Department of the Treasury now requires all federal benefit and nontax payments to be paid electronically.

People applying for Social Security, Veterans benefits or other federal benefits on or after May 1, 2011 will receive their payments electronically starting with their first payment. People currently receiving federal benefit checks will need to switch to an electronic payment option by March 1, 2013.

Those who do not choose an electronic payment option at the time they apply for federal benefits or those who do not switch by the deadline will receive their benefit payments via the Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card, so they will not experience any interruption in payment. People who are already receiving benefit payments electronically do not need to take action. They will continue to receive their payment as usual on the payment day.


Families, colleagues mourn Ohio's fallen officers of 2010

Grace Leon shared a special gift Thursday with the loved ones of the four Ohio peace officers killed in the line of duty in 2010.

The gift of hope.

“I want the survivors to know that sometimes life doesn’t bring you what you want, but I can assure you that life brings you what you need,” said Leon, whose late husband, Cleveland police officer Wayne Leon, was shot while making a traffic stop nearly 11 years ago. “I hope peace fills your hearts and loving memories bring you comfort.”


DIRECTV complaint?

Ohio consumers who have outstanding complaints against DIRECTV dating back to January 2007 may be eligible for settlement money, if they file written or online complaints by May 30.

DIRECTV agreed to provide compensation for eligible consumers under a 2010 settlement with the Ohio Attorney General, 48 other states, and the District of Columbia to resolve allegations of deceptive and unfair business practices.

The settlement involved advertising, contract terms and other issues. If you believe you might be eligible, file a written or online complaint with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office by May 30 at or by mailing a complaint form to the Consumer Protection Section, Ohio Attorney General’s Office, 30 E. Broad St., 14th Floor, Columbus, Ohio


Celebrating seniors during Older Americans Month

May is Older Americans Month, a time to honor our seniors and to encourage everyone, regardless of age, to live life to the fullest. 

Older Ohioans are a valuable resource, with their knowledge, skills and experience. Unfortunately, seniors have long been a target of scam artists, and as the population of older Ohioans grows, that trend likely will continue.

According to recent reports from U.S. Census data, Ohio’s median age is growing, and the number of Ohioans who are 65 and older grew by about seven percent from 2000 to 2010.