Scammers are Trying to Monopolize on Fear of COVID-19
COLUMBUS – The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA) is receiving reports of spam calls to Ohioans from individuals claiming to be from the Ohio EMA and requesting personal protected information, such as a Social Security number.
“The Ohio Emergency Management Agency is not calling Ohioans and asking for their protected personal information,” said Executive Director Sima Merick. “If you receive such a call, it is a scam. Please hang up the phone.”
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost and Ohio Department of Commerce Director Sherry Maxfield offer these tips to protect yourself from other scams:
· Watch out for emails claiming to be from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or other expert sources offering special advice or information about coronavirus disease 2019. Legitimate information is available for free from the CDC coronavirus.gov or from the Ohio Department of Health at coronavirus.ohio.gov.
· Ignore advertisements promoting cures for COVID-19. There currently are no vaccines, prescription medications, or over-the-counter products available to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19.
· Refrain from investing in businesses touting products, services or cures for COVID-19. Scam artists try to use the market downturn and the pandemic to scare investors into so-called “safer, guaranteed investments.”
· Research nonprofit organizations and crowdfunding campaigns before donating. A database of registered charities is available on the Ohio Attorney General’s website. Avoid groups that pressure you into donating and never donate via cash, gift cards, wire transfer, or prepaid money card. These are the preferred payment methods of scammers.
· Be watchful of anyone going door to door offering coronavirus testing or temperature readings and/or requesting personal information. Call law enforcement immediately if you see a suspicious person. Never let strangers into your home.
· Beware of emails and other attempts to “phish” for your personal, financial, and/or medical information. When in doubt, do not share. If the source claims to be your bank or a government agency, confirm they are legitimate by calling the organization at a phone number you have verified.
For information on government stimulus checks, visit the Federal Trade Commission website and stay tuned for updates from reliable news sources. The government will not ask you to pay anything to receive this money and will never ask for your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card number. Never give this information out.
· When online, avoid clicking on unknown links or pop-ups and never download any suspicious email attachment. Doing so could infect your devices with malicious software designed to steal your personal information or lock your computer until you pay a ransom.
The Department of Commerce asks consumers to ask yourself these questions to help spot red flags:
· Has someone contacted you unexpectedly about an investment opportunity or asked for payment on an unfamiliar account? If you weren’t expecting a phone call or didn’t initiate the contact, hang up. If you can put a block on the incoming phone number, do so to avoid additional calls.
· Has someone promised you something? If you are offered something that seems too good to be true, it probably is.
· Has someone asked you to do something? Were you asked for banking, credit card, or other financial account information? If you didn’t initiate the conversation, don’t provide it.
· Is an investment being offered with a guaranteed high return with little or no risk? All investments carry risk. No one can guarantee an investment return.
· Is there a sense of urgency or limited availability surrounding an investment? If the offer is legitimate, it will be there later. If someone offers you a “can’t miss” investment opportunity and puts you on the spot, don’t be afraid to walk away.
· Is the person offering the investment, and the investment itself, properly licensed or registered? For the same reasons you wouldn’t go to an unlicensed doctor or dentist, you should avoid unregistered investment salespeople and their products.
· Consumers who suspect an unfair or deceptive sales practice should contact the office of Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost at www.OhioProtects.org or 1-800-282-0515.
· Attorney General Yost’s Consumer Protection Section is receiving complaints of price gouging for items such as surgical masks and toilet paper. State law bans unconscionable sales practices, which could include dramatically increasing the price products solely in response to current events.
For answers to your COVID-19 questions, call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
If you or a loved one are experiencing anxiety related to the coronavirus pandemic, help is available. Call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 (1-800-846-8517 TTY); connect with a trained counselor through the Ohio Crisis Text Line by texting the keyword “4HOPE” to 741 741; or call the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services help line at 1-877-275-6364 to find resources in your community.
WHITEHOUSE POLICE RESPONSE TO COVID-19
As citizens continue to enact precautions to limit potential exposure to all viruses, including COVID-19 (Coronavirus) the Whitehouse Police Department would like to remind citizens that one precaution is the practice of social distancing. Social Distancing is an infection control strategy that reduces the duration and closeness of social contacts which limits the transmission of an infectious disease. To help with this, if you need a police report, there are two different ways to file a report if interaction with the police and/or public is not needed.
First, you can file most reports from your phone by calling 419-877-9191. This number can be used Monday through Friday, between 9:00am-2:00pm, when our Safety Office Assistant is in the office. She can take your information and have an officer contact you to take your report. After hours, please contact the Lucas County Communications Center at 419-243-5111. Please provide the Calltaker your name, the nature of your call, provide your phone number, and a Whitehouse Police officer will be notified to return your call.
Types of Calls for Service that can be taken over the phone:
- Past offense property crimes
- Identity Fraud
- HouseWatch requests
We will continue to respond to ALL emergencies, traffic crashes, crimes in progress, and personal crimes. FOR ALL EMERGENCIES, PLEASE CALL 911!
To request copies of police or traffic crash reports:
Contact our Safety Office Assistant via 419-877-9191 (M-F, 9:00am-2:00pm)
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please provide your name, report number (if known) and a contact number.
Reports can be sent via U.S. Postal Service, FAX, or email.
The Whitehouse Police Department reminds everyone that there is no need for panic and that these minor changes are precautionary and an effort to help citizens feel safer and reduce the likelihood of spreading the COVID-19 virus.
Friday, March 13, 2020 – The Village of Whitehouse is working closely with the Lucas County Health Department, Lucas County EMA, and the Ohio Department of Health. As Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues to spread, the Village is taking necessary precautions to help minimize the amount of people affected and to help slow the threat of the virus.
Ohio Governor DeWine has strongly urged communities to cancel public gatherings, events, concerts, etc. Because of this, The Village of Whitehouse is limiting in-person interactions. Governor DeWine has indicated that the state will be aggressive in their response and that individuals will be responsible for helping to stop the spread of the virus.
Please know that business will continue operating as normally as possible. While physical access will be reduced, the Village will continue to serve the needs of the public and answer questions using technology. The Village’s goal is to be proactive so that Village services are not reduced or stopped because of the spread of COVID-19.
The Village is taking extra care and asking employees and the general public to implement social distancing, limit attendance at large public gatherings, increase the use of disinfectants, and practice safe hygiene (frequent hand washing, covering sneezes and coughs, staying home if ill, etc.).
EFFECTIVE AS OF 9:00a.m. ON FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2020:
All Village buildings will be closed to the public until further notice. This closure includes Village Hall (6925 Providence St.) and the Police Department, Public Works Maintenance Area (11295 Waterville), and the Fire Department (10550 Waterville St.). Scheduling of all non-emergency water and sewer appointments will be suspended. The Depot Restroom on Providence Street will remain open to the public.
The Village is taking the spread of this virus very seriously and is here to attempt to answer any and all questions. Please feel free to reach out to any staff member by phone or email and we will do our best to assist you. Rest assured when we are able to return to normal operations, we will notify you in a timely manner. Thank you for your assistance and consideration.
Public Service Department: 419-877-5383
8:00 am – 4:30 pm
PUBLIC SERVICE DIRECTOR EMAIL
Whitehouse Fire Department: 419-877-0363
FIRE DEPARTMENT STAFF EMAILS
Whitehouse Police Department: 419-877-9191 (9 am – 2 pm)
After Hours — Lucas County Dispatch: 419-243-5111
POLICE STAFF EMAILS
Thursday, March 12, 2020 – The Village of Whitehouse has been working closely with all Federal, State, and Local resources to ensure operational readiness during this COVID-19 pandemic. We partner with and take guidance from the following Ohio information sources, and we urge our residents to also stay updated with the facts.
Rest assured that your Village leaders are prepared, both with an internal operational plan and our commitment to providing you services. It is important to note that this message is not meant to spur panic, but to help our residents find accurate information, particularly while this situation is still developing. If you have further questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to Village administration and safety services.
Our community always has been one that cares for others. Of course during this time we all will be checking on our families, friends, and neighbors, but we ask you to do so with regard to the recommended guidelines to limit the spread of this coronavirus. And remember, simple hand washing is our best defense!