Task Force targets Cincinnati-area scams

On Your SIde

CINCINNATI - The economic downturn has led to a big upturn in scams and fraudin the Cincinnati area.

And so a group of law enforcement and business groups haslaunched a local task force to fight fraud, scams, and abuse.

The coalition, led by Hamilton County Commissioner GregHartmann, includes the Cincinnati Police Department, FBI, HamiltonCounty Prosecutor's Office, Cincinnati Better Business Bureau, andseveral community groups.

"We've got a comprehensive plan that details every type offraud in our county. There are people who prey on homeowners facingforeclosure, and say we will help you, and pay your bills, but atthe end of the day nothing of the sort happens," said CommissionerHartmann.

New Scam Alert each month

The task force will spend the next year warning consumers aboutfraud including college aid scams, refinancing scams, Internetripoffs, home improvement scams, and door-to-door scams, whichtogether steal millions of dollars from Tri-State residents everyyear. Every month they will highlight a new scam.

Agent Bark Batts of Cincinnati's FBI office said "a singlescam can destroy companies or devastate families by wiping outtheir life savings, or losing investors millions and billions ofdollars. These fraud schemes are now more sophisticated thanever."

January: Foreclosure scams

The first scam the group is targeting is foreclosure relieffraud: They will be speaking to community and senior groups, andposting info on their website to help homeowners avoid a ripoff.

Typically, these companies charge several thousand dollarsto help avoid foreclosure, then take the money and run.

Go to http://www.hamilton-co.org/fraud/seniorHomeImprovementScams.aspto connect to the Task Force website.

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