Morning briefing – Nov. 30

Staff report

* Are you headed to visit loved ones for the holiday season or spending the winter months where it’s warm? If so, the Department of Commerce’s Video Service Authorization section wants you to know that you may be eligible for a seasonal hold on your cable, internet and phone services.

This hold will drop your bill to just a small monthly fee and will save you the hassle of disconnecting and reconnecting your services. Depending on your cable provider, the hold could be put in place for as little as one month to a maximum of nine months.

“Ohioans may not know about this program when they’re leaving town for an extended period,” Commerce Director Jacqueline T. Williams said. “We want to simplify the transition from Ohio to their second home and back.”

Cable providers have their own requirements for program eligibility, but generally all require that a customer is in good standing with the company and has no outstanding charges on their account.

You should contact your cable provider to find out more about their rates and requirements.

Ohioans who have questions or concerns regarding their cable service or need assistance resolving an issue are asked to please contact Commerce’s Cable TV Consumer Hotline at 1-800-686-7826.

* The Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of Securities today warned investors to be on the lookout for con artists looking to swipe their holiday cash.

“The holidays are always an active time for con artists touting get-rich-quick and other investment schemes as a fast and easy way to cover their own holiday expenses,” said Director of Commerce Jacqueline T. Williams. “It is especially important this time of year to not hand over your hard-earned money or your private financial information to people or businesses that you do not know.”

While the Division of Securities strongly encourages Ohio investors to closely scrutinize investments offered any time of year, it is warning investors to pay even closer attention to private placement deals as well as investment strategies tied to that “next big thing.”

“Tech, craft brewery, and distillery startups, out-of-state marijuana operations, and online pyramid schemes like the recent ‘Secret Sister’ gift exchange scam on Facebook have all been popular this year,” said Ohio Securities Commissioner Andrea L. Seidt. “Scam artists are exploiting these trends to peddle their own bogus offerings. Ohioans need to do their homework and make sure the investments they are considering are legitimate and suitable for their own investing needs.”

The Division of Securities has initiated a number of investigations involving the sale of these and many other products to Ohio investors this year. In many cases, victims could have avoided the fraud entirely simply by calling the Division’s Investor Protection Hotline at 1-800-788-1194 before they invested.

* The Ohio Department of Commerce is reminding Ohioans to be safe this holiday season as they travel or shop for holiday gifts, particularly on busy shopping days.

“Whether at the mall searching for that perfect gift or in an airport trying to catch a flight, it is extremely important to exercise caution when riding escalators and elevators,” said Commerce Director Jacqueline T. Williams. “Most accidents are not due to mechanical problems and can be prevented by following some basic safety tips.”

Escalators & Moving Walks – Safety Tips:

Step on and off carefully

People only – no canes, walkers, strollers, or wheeled vehicles (including luggage)

Hold the handrail

Hold children or small packages firmly with one hand

Do not touch the sides below the handrail

Stand facing forward

Watch your step not your smartphone

Elevators Safety Tips:

Watch your step

Leave closing doors alone

If doors don’t open ring alarm button and wait

If there is a fire in the building use stairs

The Department of Commerce, Division of Industrial Compliance (Division) is responsible for inspecting all elevators, escalators or lifts in Ohio to ensure they are working properly and safely (excluding Cleveland and Cincinnati which conduct their own inspections). The total number of these units in service currently in Ohio is 32,812. Of these units, more than 600 are escalators, many in shopping malls and airports across the state.

Most units require two inspections per year. Last year the Division’s Elevator Section performed more than 61,000 inspections and is on pace to conduct approximately the same number this year. .

Staff report