While our first priority is keeping Ohioans healthy and safe, we must also take steps to protect Ohioans’ financial wellbeing.
We’ve seen reports indicating that scammers are targeting and taking advantage of Ohioans during this scary and confusing time. These scammers particularly prey on seniors who are at higher risk for complications due to coronavirus and more vulnerable to scams that make false promises about cures or that offer fake testing.
But we know that it’s not only seniors who are vulnerable to these scams. Ohioans are fearful right now, and unfortunately bad actors will always play on fear and intimidation to scam people out of their hard-earned money.
As Ohioans begin to receive checks following the passage of the stimulus package last week, the need to be vigilant and protect Ohioans from these scams will become even more pressing. Remember: the government will not call you asking for PayPal information, or your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to get you your stimulus check.
I encourage Ohioans to visit the Federal Trade Commission website, where the agency has tools to avoid coronavirus scams and to report potential scammers who have reached out. The website has several tips for Ohioans, including hanging up on robocallers, fact checking claims that seem too good to be true, and investigating charities before giving them money.
I’m glad the FTC has taken these steps, but as we continue see an uptick in complaints, we know there’s more work to do to protect seniors and all Ohioans from financial scams.
Last week, I joined 33 of my colleagues in calling on the FTC to ramp up efforts to protect seniors during the pandemic and offer recourse for Ohio seniors who have been scammed. We also asked the FTC to tell us what steps it will take to better protect seniors, how it plans to coordinate with other federal agencies, and what resources it needs to better protect Ohio seniors.
I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to push federal agencies and the White House to do more to protect seniors, families, and all Ohioans during this pandemic.
Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) represents Ohio in the U.S. Senate.