Axios Columbus

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It's Wednesday. Just 27,550 days until the next total solar eclipse in Ohio ... and perhaps the next Browns championship.

🌧️ Today's weather: More rain likely. High of 67.

πŸŽ‚ Happy birthday to our Axios Columbus members Becky Lusk, Bradley Saull and Joseph Russell!

πŸ“£ Situational awareness: Gov. Mike DeWine's annual State of the State address is today at noon.

Today's newsletter is 870 words β€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: πŸ’Έ Scammers' record haul

Data: Federal Trade Commission; Chart: Axios Visuals

Ohioans lost over $150 million to fraud in 2023, according to a new Federal Trade Commission report.

Why it matters: More Americans are falling victim to scams than ever before.

  • The FTC says nationwide losses hit a record $10 billion last year.

Threat level: No group β€” young, old or even the computer-savvy β€” shows immunity to increasingly sophisticated scams, the FTC and other consumer protection groups say.

By the numbers: Business imposter scams, in which attackers impersonate legitimate organizations like a major retailer or tech support, jumped 18% nationwide in 2023 to 474,000 from less than 400,000 in 2022.

  • And scams mimicking government officials and services grew 15%, with the FTC receiving more than 228,000 reports of such scams last year.

Zoom in: Ohio residents filed more than 61,000 fraud reports in 2023. The median loss per victim was about $400, per the FTC.

  • Of those reports, 22,000 came from victims in the metro Columbus area.

Between the lines: Law enforcement often doesn't have enough officers or field agents to go after every single instance of fraud β€” especially if only a few hundred dollars were stolen.

  • Scammers know this and tend to go after smaller amounts to keep their activities under the radar.

The intrigue: Over the last few years, Gen Xers, millennials and Gen Zers were 86% more likely to report losing money to online shopping scams than older adults, per the FTC.

The bottom line: Watch out for phishing emails and suspicious phone calls. If you're not expecting a call from tech support or another business, it's probably not them.

  • Report suspected scams to the FTC, which shares this information with law enforcement across the country.
  • You can also file a complaint with the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

2. 🀧 Spring allergies stink for pets too

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More pets in Ohio, particularly dogs, are being treated for itchy skin and allergies.

Why it matters: Seasonal allergies can be terribly uncomfortable for furry friends, and they can snowball into secondary issues, including skin infections.

By the numbers: Pet insurance company Trupanion reports a 23% increase in allergy claims for insured pets in Ohio in 2023 compared to 2019, with the data growth adjusted and measured on a per 1,000 pet basis.

  • Dog allergy drugs Apoquel and Cytopoint have treated more than 20 million dogs in total since being released over the past decade, according to parent company Zoetis.

What they're saying: It's hard to say whether allergies are indeed more prevalent or whether we're just "better at finding it and our pet owners [are] better at seeking treatment," says American Veterinary Medical Association president Rena Carlson.

What you can do: Anti-itch prescriptions are available to treat allergic dogs.

  • Injectable treatments work to block the signal that triggers an itch.
  • And chewable treatments are meant to reduce skin inflammation.

Between the lines: Skin problems in pets are "absolutely the No. 1 issue we see with allergies," Carlson tells Axios.

  • Allergies can also show up in the ear canal, which "is actually just an extension of the skin," she says.
  • And with environmental allergies, the itchiness can appear seasonally.
  • Other major reasons a pet could be itching: a parasite-related skin problem or a food allergy.

The bottom line: If you suspect your pet has allergies, take them to the vet immediately, Carlson says.

  • Be prepared for questions about your pet's age (younger pups might be more likely to have food allergies), evidence of fleas (which could indicate a parasite), when the itchiness started and patterns in their environment or food.

3. Nutshells: Your local news roundup

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Alissa Widman Neese/Axios

πŸ“š Columbus Metropolitan Library CEO Patrick Losinski will retire after 22 years leading the system. (Columbus Library)

Sam Randazzo, the former state public utilities chairman who faced criminal charges over the HB 6 scandal, has died by suicide. (Dispatch)

Republican Senate candidate Bernie Moreno said abortion should be "primarily decided" at the state level, a position in line with former President Trump's campaign. (Axios)

πŸ¦“ Columbus Zoo workers observed a variety of animal reactions during Monday's eclipse, including some that went to sleep. (Dispatch)

πŸš‚ Norfolk Southern will pay $600 million to settle a class-action lawsuit related to last year's train derailment in East Palestine. (AP)

4. πŸ“Έ Photo quiz: A group of "Great Contributors"

These statues can be found on the OSU campus in Newark. Photo: Tyler Buchanan/Axios

In yesterday's newsletter, we asked readers to locate these inventive, statuesque brothers.

  • This was a tricky one, but a few got it right: the Ohio State University campus in Newark, Tyler's new stomping grounds.

The intrigue: You can find plenty of other famous people nearby.

  • Newark's "Great Contributors" series by Gary Lee Price also features depictions of world figures like George Washington and Joan of Arc.
  • "Price's work is unique in depicting these historical giants not standing on pedestals but seated on bronze benches that offer an open seat for students to join them," campus website reads.

Zoom in: The Wright brothers are best known for inventing the powered airplane. You can find tributes to their work on every Ohio license plate.

πŸ‘ Congrats to Dai N. for winning Axios swag! We'll be in touch.

5. 😎 A reader's eclipse experience

The moon passes in front of the sun during the solar eclipse over Martin, Ohio. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The visual and auditory presence of the Solar Eclipse was phenomenal. The birds chirping feverishly during the beautiful spring day in Westerville β€” stopped with deafening silence … A magical and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
β€” Reader Charleta T.

This newsletter was edited by Lindsey Erdody and copy edited by Caitlin Wolper and Anjelica Tan.

Our picks:

πŸ“° Tyler is reading about a Black cemetery in Defiance County being uncovered in a rural farm field.

πŸ‘ΆπŸΌ Alissa is on maternity leave.