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Scams target Ohio veterans and service members

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The Ohio Attorney General is issuing a  warning about scams aimed at current members of the military and veterans.

As part of a Military Consumer Protection Day event, Attorney General Mike DeWine says that hundreds of consumer complaints are filed each year from active-duty military members or veterans . The complaints reportedly involve typical consumer transactions, such as home improvement or motor vehicle sales, as well as potential scams.

The Attorney General reported potential military-related scams include:

    Early leave scams – Scammers contact the family members of a deployed service member and ask them to send money so that the service member can go on early leave.

    Online vehicle scams – A con artist posts a vehicle for sale online and pretends to be a soldier who is about to be deployed and must sell the vehicle quickly.

    Veterans charity scams – Individuals or phony organizations solicit donations to help veterans, but the money is not used to help veterans.

    Military romance scams – A scammer pretends to be a soldier and develops an online relationship with the victim, eventually asking the victim to send money.

    Identity theft – An impersonator steals the identity of an active-duty military member to open fraudulent accounts or otherwise pretend to be the service member.

"Those who serve our country deserve not only our sincere thanks and appreciation but also our help avoiding scams and solving consumer problems," Attorney General DeWine said. "The unique challenges of military life can make it difficult to handle issues like identity theft or disputes with a business, and we want Ohioans who are in the military to know we are here to help."

New legislation to establish harsher penalties for those who commit identity fraud against active-duty service members and their spouses takes effect September 16th. The law will increase the penalties for felons who target active-duty service members or their spouses and provide an expedited consumer complaint process for active-duty service members.

The Military Consumer Protection Day website can be found here.

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