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New Year's resolutions: 4 tips for avoiding gym membership scams

After the holiday season, many people try to get back in shape, but officials are warning consumers about potential gym membership scams.

>> Read more trending news 

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office received about 140 complaints involving fitness or health club memberships. Top problem areas included cancellation and billing issues. Under Ohio’s Prepaid Entertainment Contracts Act, consumers generally have three business days to cancel a contract for gym memberships and other “health spa services,” martial arts training, dance studio lessons, or social referral services (such as a dating service).

>> How to keep your New Year’s resolutions this time

“This is a time when many people are thinking about joining a gym, and that can be a great way to get in shape. We just want consumers to understand what they’re signing up for,” said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “A little bit of prevention can go a long way.”

DeWine’s tips for avoiding scams include the following:

1. Research the gym. Look for complaints on file with your local attorney general’s office or Better Business Bureau, and check online reviews for feedback from current or past customers. Pay attention to how a business addresses customer complaints.

2. Read contracts carefully. Make sure verbal agreements are put in writing. Otherwise, they are not guaranteed.

3. Watch out for extra fees. Determine the total cost of your membership. Find out if there are any extra fees for services like fitness classes or personal training. Also find out if payments will be withdrawn automatically from your account.

4. Check the cancellation policy. Understand what you would need to do to cancel your contract and how far in advance cancellations must be made. Many contracts renew automatically, so be sure to check the total length of the contract. 

Harley-Davidson recalls 238,300 bikes for clutch issue

Harley-Davidson is recalling about 238,000 motorcycles worldwide because of a clutch issue. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that it’s the fourth recall for such an issue in five years.

The Associated Press reported that nearly 178,000 of the motorcycles are being recalled in the United States.

>> Read more trending news 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that fluid can leak inside the clutches, which makes it hard to disengage the bikes from gears and could lead riders to lose control of the bike and crash. Five crashes have been reported, but there were no injuries reported.

Recalled models are the 2017 and 2018 Police Road King, Road King, Road King Special, Electra Glide Ultra Classic, Ultra Limited, Ultra Limited Low, Ultra Limited Shrine, Police Electra Glide, Street Glide, Street Glide Special, Road Glide Ultra, Road Glide, Road Glide Special, Freewheeler, Tri Glide Ultra, CVO Limited, and the CVO Street Glide.

The 2017 Softail Slim S, Fat Boy S, CVO Pro Street Breakout and the 2018 115th Anniversary Ultra Limited, 115th Anniversary Street Glide, 115th Anniversary Street Glide Special, 115th Anniversary Tri Glide Ultra, 115th Anniversary CVO Limited, and CVO Road Glide are also recalled.

“We, along with our dealers, are committed to addressing this issue,” Chief Financial Officer John Olin said during a conference call Tuesday, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported. “The safety of our riders is our highest priority.”

Riders can check if their bike is part of the recall at

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Scam alert: Fake Microsoft rep hijacks woman's computer, charges $3K to 'fix' it

A 66-year-old West Chester Township, Ohio, woman is out about $3,300 after someone claiming to be a Microsoft representative allegedly took over her computer, caused a problem and charged her to fix it.

Township spokeswoman Barb Wilson explained how the scam worked.

>> On Police investigating $20,000 cellphone heist 

“It appears as if the victim bought something off the internet which was not a legitimate Microsoft product,” Wilson said. “From this transaction, the individual gained her contact information and access to her computer. The ‘rep’ said the computer issue could be fixed with payment made with Google gift cards, which she provided.”

>> Read more trending news 

The incident is still under investigation.

Scam alert: Fake Amazon job offer asks for $200 payment

A new scam targeting job seekers invites you to apply for a job at Amazon then purchase an "enrollment kit." Don't fall for it.

>> Watch the news report here

The Better Business Bureau says the job offer appears to come from Amazon, either by email or voicemail, offering anywhere from $20 per hour to $6,000 a month – and you can work from home. You're then asked to submit $200 before you can start working for an "enrollment kit." The job offer is bogus, and the scammers then make off with your money and vanish.

>> Read more trending news 

The BBB says the best way to protect yourself is to do your research, and if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Amazon will never ask for money during an employment offer.

The BBB offers these tips on how to spot a job scam:

  • Be cautious of any job that asks you to share personal information or hand over money. Scammers will often use the guise of running a credit check, setting up direct deposit, or paying for training.
  • Check the business's website. Scammers frequently post jobs using the names of real companies such as Amazon to lend legitimacy to their cons. Check on the business's website for the position and/or call to confirm.
  • Work at home at your own pace. Always be wary of work from home opportunities that are riddled with testimonials. Often the suggestion of real success is misleading. Suggesting that few hours and limited work will make one successful is a red flag.
  • Some positions are more likely to be scams. Always be wary of work-from-home or secret shopper positions, or any job with a generic title such as caregiver, administrative assistant, or customer service rep. Positions that don't require special training or licensing appeal to a wide range of applicants. Scammers know this and use these otherwise legitimate titles in their fake ads. 
  • Different procedures should raise your suspicion. Watch out for on-the-spot job offers. You may be an excellent candidate for the job but beware of offers made without an interview. A real company will want to talk to a candidate before hiring. Don't fall for an overpayment scam. No legitimate job would ever overpay an employee and ask for money to be wired elsewhere. This is a common trick used by scammers. Be careful if a company promises you great opportunities or big income as long as you pay for coaching, training, certifications or directories. 
  • Government agencies post all jobs publicly and freely. The federal government and the U.S. Postal Service never charge for information about jobs or applications for jobs. Be wary of any offer to give you special access or guarantee you a job for a fee – if you are paying for the promise of a job, it’s probably a scam.
  • Get all details and contracts in writing. A legitimate recruiter will provide you with a complete contract for their services with cost, what you get, who pays (you or the employer), and what happens if you do not find a job. 

Kroger grocery chain launches online delivery for select cities

Kroger, a Cincinnati-based grocery chain, is confronting e-commerce behemoths Walmart and Amazon with its new delivery service, Kroger Ship.

The service was announced Aug. 1, making it available in Cincinnati, Houston, Louisville, Kentucky, Nashville, Tennessee, and, as of late, Atlanta.

“Our customers have been telling us they want different options as far as purchasing groceries,” Kroger spokesman Felix Turner told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “This gives our customers another option.”

Customers of Kroger Ship pay a fee of $4.99 for each order that’s less than $35. Any grocery order more than $35 is free. The company also offers promotional deals for first-time customers.

Kroger has 2,800 grocery stores across the country. The company already offers online ordering and local delivery at many locations through Instacart. The new service would use Kroger employees, Turner said.

>> Read more trending news 

The company plans to add distribution centers, although at least for now they won’t be in metro Atlanta, Turner said. “We want to get to areas where we are presently not located.”

Kroger says its online orders are up 66 percent from a year ago.

For years, Amazon was in front of the pack, surging to dominate online shopping, benefiting without the burden of managing and paying for an entrenched network of “brick-and-mortar” stores.

But analysts say big retailers have become more aggressive about using their stores in concert with their online business. Customers order online, go to pick up their merchandise in the store and often go on to buy more items once they are there.

“We definitely still want you to come through the store,” Turner said.

Before long, Turner said, the company could eventually imitate Amazon’s one-day service.

“That is probably in the works,” Turner said.

More information on Kroger Ship is at

T-Mobile warns customers of security breach, says personal information may have been accessed 

Wireless carrier T-Mobile said its customer data, including that of Metro PCS customers, was accessed in a potential security breach.

CNBC reported that the company announced late Thursday that its cyber-security team discovered and shut down unauthorized access to customer information on Aug. 20. The company said it was reported to authorities.

>> Read more trending news 

“None of your financial data (including credit card information) or Social Security numbers were involved, and no passwords were compromised,” the company said. “However, you should know that some of your personal information may have been exposed, which may have included one or more of the following: name, billing zip code, phone number, email address, account number and account type (prepaid or postpaid).”

The company said customers affected by the breach have been or should soon be notified. Customers are asked to contact Customer Care by dialing 611 on their phones or access two-way messaging on the T-Mobile app, iMessage, or if they have questions about their account or the incident. 

“We take the security of your information very seriously and have a number of safeguards in place to protect your personal information from unauthorized access,” the company said in a statement. “We truly regret that this incident occurred and are so sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you.”

More information on the incident is at

Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen says customer data was accessed in cyberattack

Customers who dined at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen between November 3, 2017 and January 2, 2018 may need to check their credit card accounts.

The American restaurant, first known as Cheddar’s Casual Cafe, said in a Wednesday news release that Darden Restaurants, the owner of the chain, was notified about a cyberattack incident involving restaurants in 23 states -- Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

>> Read more trending news 

“We believe that payment card information, including card numbers, from guests who visited the affected Cheddar's restaurants between Nov. 3, 2017 and Jan. 2, 2018, may have been exposed,” the news release said. “We estimate the exposure to be 567,000 payment card numbers; however, we continue to assess the scope of the incident.”

“Once Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen learned of this incident, we engaged a third-party cybersecurity firm to investigate. Our current systems and networks were not impacted by this incident,”  the company said in a notification on its website. “The unauthorized access appears to have occurred on a network that was permanently disabled and replaced by April 10, 2018. It’s important to note that there are no indications of unauthorized access to the current Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen network and systems.”

The company is offering free identity protection services to affected customers.

“The trust our guests place in us is something we take very seriously, and we regret that this incident occurred,” Cheddar’s said in a statement. “We deeply value our relationships with our guests, and our priority is to assist those who may have been impacted by this incident. That is why we have arranged to have ID Experts provide identity protection services at no cost to those individuals.”

Customers who dined at affected restaurants during that time are encouraged to call 888-258-7280 for more information on identity protection services. They can also go to

McDonald’s pulls salads from some restaurants after more than 100 people infected by parasite

Departments of public health in Illinois and Iowa are investigating some McDonald’s locations after people became ill after eating their salads.

CNN reported that Illinois has reported 90 cases of a parasite outbreak since mid-May. Iowa reported 15 cases since late June.

>> Read more trending news 

The Iowa Department of Public Health said there has been an increase in Cyclospora infections that were connected to salads at the fast-food chain. 

“This summer there have been several clusters of Cyclospora illness associated with various foods that are commercially available. This week IDPH has identified 15 Iowans who ate McDonald’s salads in late June to early July prior to getting ill,” Dr. Patricia Quinlisk said in a statement. “Anyone who ate these salads since the middle of June and who developed diarrhea, especially watery diarrhea and fatigue, should see their health care provider and get tested for Cyclospora to ensure an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.”

According to an initial investigation from the Illinois Department of Public Health, about one-fourth of cases in the state reported eating salads from McDonald’s before getting ill.

“Although a link has been made to salads sold in McDonald’s restaurants in some Illinois cases, public health officials continue to investigate other sources,” IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, said in a statement. “If you ate a salad from McDonald’s since mid-May and developed diarrhea and fatigue, contact a health care provider about testing and treatment.”

Symptoms of Cyclospora infection include loss of weight and appetite, frequent watery diarrhea, cramping, bloating and increased gas, a low-grade fever, fatigue and nausea. Vomiting is less common, but could still be a symptom of infection.

Cyclospora is not spread directly from person to person, but people get infected by consuming food or water contaminated with feces that contain the parasite, according to the IDPH. It is the same parasite that has been linked to Del Monte vegetables, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier,” McDonald’s told People in a statement. “We are in the process of removing existing salad blend from identified restaurants and distribution centers – which includes approximately 3,000 of our U.S. restaurants primarily located in the Midwest.

“McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control,” the burger chain added. “We are closely monitoring this situation and cooperating with state and federal public health authorities as they further investigate.”

Safety agency warns about sparkler, fireworks safety this Fourth of July

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is reminding people ahead of the Fourth of July to celebrate safely.

The agency said in a Wednesday news release that there were eight fireworks-related deaths reported in 2017. Victims ranged in age from 4 to 57, according to the agency’s 2017 fireworks report

>> Read more trending news 

“In CPSC’s new fireworks report, five of the eight deaths were related to reloadable aerial devices; one was associated with devices manufactured at home, one involved a firecracker, and one was related to sparklers. Seven victims died from direct impacts of fireworks, and one victim died in a house fire caused by misusing a firecracker,” the CPSC news release said.

According to the report, 70 percent of those injured from fireworks were male and 30 percent were female. Half of emergency department-treated, fireworks-related injuries were to people under the age of 20. Hands and fingers were the most-frequently injured parts of the body in such incidents at 31 percent, followed by 22 percent to the head, face and ears, 17 percent to legs, 14 percent to eyes and 6 percent to arms.

During a CPSC-hosted demonstration for firework safety, Bowling Green, Kentucky, pilot Michael Spencer shared his story of injury. He was injured by a shell-and-mortar-style fireworks device and lost fingers on both hands. He’s had more than 11 surgeries since then.

“Fireworks can be extremely dangerous, even if they are legal,” Spencer said. “My advice would be to leave them to the professionals.” 

The CPSC advises the following fireworks safety tips for consumers :

  • Make sure consumer fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them. 
  • Never use or make professional-grade fireworks.
  • Do not buy or use fireworks that are packaged in brown paper; this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and are not for consumer use.
  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks, including sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Move to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person or occupied area.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move away from them quickly.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy, in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks. Soak them with water and throw them away.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding the device to prevent a trash fire.

“CPSC works year round to help prevent deaths and injuries from fireworks,” CPSC acting chairman Ann Marie Buerkle said in a statement. “Beyond CPSC’s efforts, we want to make sure everyone takes simple safety steps to celebrate safely with their family and friends. We work with the fireworks industry, monitor incoming fireworks shipments at the ports and enforce federal fireworks safety regulations so that all Americans have a safe Fourth of July.”

More information on fireworks safety is at Fireworks recalls can be checked at the CPSC recalls page.

AT&T warns customers of Social Security scam

AT&T has reportedly issued a warning to its customers about a phone scam making the rounds.

WAFB reported that customers are reporting calls from people saying their service is being temporarily halted until they give the last four digits of their Social Security number.

>> Read more trending news 

“These calls are not from us,” AT&T said in a statement, according to WAFB. “If any company calls you and asks for your personal information, that is a red flag. One of our tips on our new Cyber Aware website is never give such information to someone who calls you. Call the company at the number found on your bill.”

Customers can also forward suspicious texts to 7726 or report scams to

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