Area residents are inquiring if letters, emails are legit

Ron Craig, Crime Prevention/Community Policing Officer

        I have received calls this week regarding Ohio Electricity Litigation, including one from a former Lake Township official, asking if this is a legitimate concern.
        After some research, it appears Ohio Electricity Litigation is legitimate, but remember that even legitimate firms and agencies can be used by scammers to get personal information they can use to drain your bank accounts and steal your identity.
        OEL came about in the aftermath of a scandal from a few years ago that erupted involving former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives Larry Householder and other state officials who received bribes to support legislation that benefited certain electrical utilities such as Toledo Edison and Ohio Edison.
        Someone filed a civil lawsuit against those utilities, and they prevailed in court. The utility companies were ordered by the court to refund customers millions of dollars as a result of the lawsuit.
        OEL is a firm that is coordinating these settlements for thousands of customers of these utility companies.
        Some of the people in our area are receiving information about the lawsuit and the settlements from OEL by mail and some via email.
        Some have reported receiving credit cards or gift cards with letters in the mail with no amount mentioned regarding the value of the credit or gift card. This makes me suspicious about the validity of such mailings. Even more suspicious is that the recipient of these cards is warned not to try to use the card for more than its value, even though there’s no mention of such card value.
        Regarding the calls from residents who are informed of the value of their settlements, the amounts are usually less than $10.
        Given the fact these settlement offers are usually less than $10, I have asked the callers if they want to take the risk of ending up with their identities being compromised for only a few dollars.
        In one case, the issue of acting on the letter is somewhat of a moot point. The letter clearly stated the settlement was only good for the customer named in the letter, which was the caller’s husband who has passed away.
        I remind readers of this column to do their homework whenever they receive letters, emails, or texts offering money or goods at no or little expense.
        While some may be legitimate, it is rarely worth the risk to act on such offers. You may end up losing your identity or even your money in your bank account if you are dealing with a scammer.
        It is worth noting that I have been a recent victim of identity theft. I was made aware this past week that someone has filed a false claim in my name for unemployment benefits here at Lake Township Police Department.
        This article is a public service from the Community Policing/Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


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