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  • Writer's pictureJoe Lyons

"Maximizing Tax Refunds, Avoiding Scams, and Home Improvement Tips: Expert Advice from Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost"


Maximize your tax refund

 

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost urges taxpayers to make the most of their tax refunds while staying vigilant against scams. With the average tax refund this year standing at $3,182, individuals have various options for utilizing these funds, from bolstering savings to tackling debts or making significant purchases or repairs.

 

For those considering major purchases or repairs, particularly in the realm of automotive transactions, caution is advised. Yost emphasizes the importance of thoroughly researching and inspecting vehicles, especially when buying "as is." Consumers are urged to check vehicle histories through resources like the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System and to enlist the expertise of independent mechanics.

 

Additionally, Ohio law doesn't typically grant the right to cancel car purchases, and consumers should be aware of the Title Defect Recision Law, which allows for refunds under certain circumstances related to title issues or inaccurate disclosures.

 

Furthermore, consumers should obtain written estimates for repairs exceeding certain thresholds and carefully evaluate warranties and service contracts before making purchases. Payment options should be chosen wisely, with attention to the potential pitfalls of refund anticipation loans and rent-to-own plans.


 

Beware of deepfake celebrity-endorsement scams

 

Yost alerts consumers to a concerning trend involving deepfake celebrity endorsement videos circulating on social media. These videos, featuring famous personalities like Jennifer Aniston, Taylor Swift, and Selena Gomez, promote fraudulent giveaways or endorsements, potentially leading unsuspecting individuals to disclose personal or financial information.

 

To discern between authentic endorsements and deepfake scams, consumers are advised to scrutinize video content for unusual movements or backgrounds, verify sources, and seek additional context. Resources like VERIFY and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab provide guidance on identifying deepfake videos, while caution is urged when encountering suspicious links or offers.


 

Man indicted in Coshocton County for gift-card counterfeiting scheme

 

In a recent development, Ming Xue faces a slew of felony charges related to a gift-card counterfeiting scheme in Coshocton County. Xue's alleged involvement in altering and redistributing gift cards underscores the importance of vigilance when purchasing or using such cards.

 

Consumers are reminded to inspect gift cards for signs of tampering, avoid sharing PINs or personal information, and track deliveries to prevent theft or misuse. Alternative delivery methods, such as electronic gift cards, may offer added security in transactions.


 

Watch out for home-improvement scams

 

As warmer weather heralds the season of home-improvement projects, Yost cautions homeowners against falling victim to scams perpetrated by unscrupulous contractors. Vigilance in vetting contractors, obtaining multiple estimates, and verifying credentials is crucial to avoiding substandard work or financial loss.

 

Key precautions include refraining from large down payments, paying incrementally, avoiding cash transactions, and securing written agreements. Consumers are also reminded of their rights under Ohio's Home Solicitation Sales Act and advised to be wary of red flags indicative of fraudulent contractors.


 

In conclusion, Yost underscores the importance of remaining vigilant against scams and unfair business practices, urging consumers to report suspicious activities to the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

 

For those encountering potential scams or unfair business practices, assistance is available through www.OhioProtects.org or by calling 800-282-0515.

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