A resident of the Cross Plains community telephoned the Ripley County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, April 4, 2013 leaving information on a scam currently making the rounds in Ripley County.
The phone call
solicitation comes from
a foreign sounding male,
informing the call
recepient that Medicare
recipients are receiving
their new, up-to-date
cards. The caller
states he needs to
verify the Medicare
information, along with
their current banking
is not from Medicare,
but a person trying to
personal information for
their own benefit.
DO NOT give any person your personal and/or banking information, unless you 100% trust the sorce.
If anyone does call asking for this information, and you cannot confirm the identity of the caller 100%, hang up IMMEDIATELY.
|(February 2013) College bound students interested in applying for student loans should be aware of websites that may not be on the "up and up." It was reported to the Sheriff's Office a highschool student logged into a site that ended in ".com" instead of ".gov." and was scammed for $80.00. All the characters in front of .com match the web address for FAFSA.ed.gov. FAFSA.ed.gov is a free site. Other sites may allege to help find money for college, but the companies make no effort to find grants or scholarships, but charge a fee. School guidance counselors, as well as law enforcement, try to stay ahead of these scams, but aren't always successful. The Sheriff's Office encourages you to investigate any site, and ask questions, prior to doing business with any internet company. An important detail is to read the disclaimer information at the bottom of the main page on a website. If you have any information on scams, or information that is helpful to the public, please reach out to your local law enforcement authority, or media outlet.|
(January 2013) The Sheriff’s
Office has identified
individuals believed to be
responsible for going door-
to-door asking for money on
behalf of the Hope Baptist
Church located in Dillsboro.
In August 2012, the
Sheriff’s Office received
complaints of a scam and
began an investigation.
After a several month long
investigation, suspects were
located and interviewed.
Other persons who may have
been victims or witnesses
have been spoken to as well.
However, the investigation
continues. Currently, names
are being withheld pending
formal charging by the
prosecuting attorney. If you
believe that you or someone
you know was a victim of
this scam, or have
information regarding this
scam, please contact the
“ Scams are going on everywhere, and it is hard to keep up with them,” noted Sheriff Grills. “We, the Sheriff’s Office, attempt to keep up with all the complaints, but there are way more reported than we can investigate. I would like to remind everyone to make donations locally if you like, and to make sure you do not give personal information out over the phone or through the mail. Also, make sure you inquire with the three major credit bureaus to monitor your credit every year.”
Sheriff Grills will be at Buckeye Village on January 21, at 10am to give a seminar on how to protect yourself from scams and identity theft. This seminar will be open to the public.
(January 2013) Telephone
Scam reported to Sheriff's
Office. Check your email or
see the Sheriff's Office
website for further
Ripley County Sheriff's
Office has received
complaints of a phone call
that tells homeowners there
has been a burglary in their
area. The caller advises
they will install a home
alarm system for free and
then requests private
(December 2012)News reports
and consumer calls confirm
that the “Property Deed
Scam” is still hitting home
The mailing is often from a private company, with a government-like name, offering certified copies of your land deed for an excessive fee – up to $87. Property deeds are public records and your county recorder can provide you a copy for free or at a nominal cost, often times a $1 per page.
Attorney General Greg Zoeller said that while the property deed service is not necessarily illegal, the solicitation can often mislead consumers into believing they need a copy. Homeowners are not required to have copies even when they sell a property.
Zoeller asks consumers to disregard the mailings and help warn family and friends – especially senior citizens. If you have any doubts about a mailing offering a government-provided service, contact the entity directly to confirm the solicitation’s legitimacy. If you have paid for this service, but did not receive your deed copy you can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office by visiting www.IndianaConsumer.com or requesting a complaint form be mailed to you by calling 1.800.382.5516.
CONSUMER ALERT: Don’t be defrauded by Sandy scammers
Zoeller urges generous Hoosiers to donate responsibly to hurricane relief
(November 2012) In light of the massive storm system that pounded the East Coast this week, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller warns Hoosiers to be on guard against scam artists who might seek to profit off the Hurricane Sandy disaster.
First, beware of individuals posing as representatives of cable TV companies or Internet service providers who might call and claim customers will receive a billing credit due to supposed outages caused by Hurricane Sandy and then ask for the customer’s bank account information. Such fraudulent calls are known as “phishing” scams. To avoid identity theft or fraudulent withdrawals from their bank accounts, consumers should never give their account information over the phone to anyone unless the consumer initiates the call.
For more information on how to detect identity theft, protect one’s credit and repair any damage once done, consumers can visit this link on the Attorney General’s Office web site: the ID Theft Prevention Toolkit: www.indianaconsumer.com/idtheft/.
Although the widespread damage, flooding and power outages Sandy inflicted might prompt generous Hoosiers to donate to relief efforts, Zoeller warns the public to verify first that relief organizations are reputable, so that they aren’t scammed. He suggests researching the website www.CharityNavigator.org to check whether a charity uses donations for intended purposes.
“When natural disasters strike Indiana, our neighbor states or other nations, Hoosiers always respond selflessly with donations. The best way to maximize their generosity is to donate smartly and wisely to established, transparent disaster-relief charities,” Zoeller said.
Here are a few simple tips for donating to avoid being scammed:
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is the state’s consumer protection agency. More information on avoiding charity scams is available on the Attorney General’s website at www.IndianaConsumer.com.
|(September 2012) Scam Targeting Seniors Funnels Their Social Security Payments Elsewhere|
(June 2012) Personal, believable stories
lure in grandparents
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller encourages Hoosiers to be on guard while online as scammers can use your profile information to rip off you or those you know.
For example, a fraudster could use your social media profile to learn the names of grandchildren and grandparents to commit what’s called the grandparent scam. In this case, a victim receives a phone call from someone claiming to be their grandchild who is visiting another country and in need of emergency funds. The phone is quickly handed off to someone claiming to be law enforcement, a medical professional or an attorney. This person goes on to explain they can take care of the situation quickly and return the grandchild home if a money wire is sent immediately. The caller will try to convince the victim not to call police or contact other family members.
Emergency fund scams can target more than just grandparents. Criminals can also try hacking your email account to access your contact list. With this valuable information the thief can send a mass email claiming to be you and ask people you know for emergency money. Often the email will say you were recently mugged while out of the country or in a car accident and that’s why you need a wire transfer.
To avoid becoming a victim ask the caller or email sender questions that would be hard for an imposter to answer correctly – like the name of the person’s pet. Hang up and then directly contact your friend or family member who claims to be in trouble to confirm an emergency exists. If you can’t reach the person contact someone else including their parents, friends or other relatives.
State lawsuit targets door-to-door frozen meat sales companyFORT WAYNE, Ind. – Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has filed a lawsuit in Allen County against door-to-door meat sales company Country Choice, Inc.
According to the lawsuit, four Indiana customers purchased frozen meat products ranging in price from $373 to $399, but were unable to cancel their transactions within the three-day time period allowed under Indiana law.
“Door-to-door sales can put consumers in high pressure situations and lead to buyers’ remorse after the transaction,” Zoeller said. “While a sale is typically considered final immediately the law provides an exception for those sales occurring in your home. It’s important for consumers to know and understand their rights before answering the knock at the door. This lawsuit highlights our efforts to stop unscrupulous businesses that intentionally disregard the law to rip off their customers.”
One Country Choice customer purchased a case of beef for $399 and the next day sent a certified letter to the company requesting cancellation, but received no response. According to the complaint, Country Choice failed to provide the consumer with information regarding the right to cancel and did not honor its one-year satisfaction guarantee.
Zoeller said state law requires these types of door-to-door sales companies to give customers two copies of their cancellation rights and provide the deadline to cancel. Consumers have a right to cancel if they give written notice by mail or in person within three days of the purchase. Sellers are also required to return any customer payment within 10 business days of receiving cancellation notice.
A separate customer purchased $399 in meat products, but was unable to cancel the transaction even though the receipt noted the three-day cancellation period. The victim said a company representative called and promised to pick up the meat but failed to do so.
The Michigan-based company is accused of violating the Home Solicitations Sales Act, a 2009 settlement with the Attorney General’s Office and the Deceptive Consumer Sales Act. The state seeks restitution for consumers, attorney costs and civil penalties.
Zoeller said unscrupulous sellers may tell consumers they will give them time to cancel to allow more time to fully try out their product. Then, if the customer tries to cancel at a later date, they may claim the time to cancel has passed. Zoeller said any promises of an extended cancellation period should be obtained in writing.
To file a consumer complaint with the Attorney General’s Office or find out more about canceling a contract visit www.indianaconsumer.com or call 1-800-382-5516.
(May 2012) On Wednesday, May 23, 2012, the Ripley County Sheriff's Office received a complaint of a possible "phone scam".
The scam is described as the victim receiving phone calls at their residence with the person calling not stating what company they are with but stating the victim has been approved for a certain credit amount and can refinance anything they are currently in debt for through the individual that called the victim.
The call back number obtained from the phone call was called but isn't currently a working number.
Please make yourself aware of this scam and be cautious about who you give your personal information to and protect your identity!!!
(May 2012) Don’t be a victim of a rental property scam
An online classified advertisement featuring a great apartment for a “too good to be true” price may not be the perfect match after all.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller warns consumers that scammers are using free classified websites to prey on those looking for an apartment or landlords looking for renters.
Here’s an example of how the rental property scam works: You start emailing with the “owner” of an apartment or house that you would like to rent and the person says the place is yours if you wire money to cover an application fee or security deposit. You wire the money, and then never hear from the “owner” again.
How does this happen? Scammers hijack legitimate listings, change the contact information and then list the modified ads on another site; or they make up listings for places that aren’t for rent or don’t exist.
If you are an owner with an online ad for an apartment, a “renter” may contact you by email and then send you a check for a deposit. Later the “renter” tells you they want to cancel and needs you to wire the money back. Unfortunately, victims wire the money before noticing the scammer’s check was a fake.
Scammers prefer to use wire transfer companies like Western Union and MoneyGram because it’s like sending cash and they get the money quickly. Typically, there’s no way to reverse a transfer or trace the money, and money wired to another country can be picked up at multiple locations, so it’s almost impossible to identify or track someone down.
To help ensure Western Union isn’t used as a conduit for fraud, they too have released consumer alerts including warnings about the rental property scam. The Attorney General’s Office and the financial services provider offer the following tips for apartment seekers and owners:
(April 2012) Scams claim to be connected to national mortgage settlement
Thieves are now using
the $25 billion national mortgage settlement
with the nation’s five largest banks to
(April 2012) Identity thieves file fake tax returns, claim taxpayers’ refunds
Identity thieves are preying on Indiana
taxpayers by stealing personal information
and filing fraudulent tax returns.
(March 2011) Hoosiers encouraged to be cautious of home improvement scams following storms
Reports of a potential scam artist in Knox County have prompted the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), Indiana State Police and the Office of the Indiana Attorney General to remind anyone who sustained storm damage during recent severe weather incidents to be cautious of frauds and scams.
“Identity theft and building scams are two schemes con-artists sometimes use to defraud individuals recovering from manmade or natural disasters,” said IDHS Executive Director Joe Wainscott. “While most service providers in the building industry are honest, it is particularly important to be alert after disasters because these situations of widespread damage can attract scam artists and identity thieves.”
Individuals should be especially alert for solicitors who promise to speed up the insurance or building permit process and those who ask for large cash deposits or advance payments in full.
Some con-artists may even pretend to be employed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) or other government agencies.
You can protect yourself from such impersonators and dishonest individuals by following a few precautionary guidelines.
· Get a written contract. Indiana law requires home improvement contracts exceeding $150 to be in writing. Before signing the contract, make certain it includes:
Hoosiers who believe they may have been a victim of a home improvement scam can file a complaint with the attorney general's Consumer Protection Division. The complaint form is available for downloading at www.IndianaConsumer.com or call 1-800-382-5516 to request a form by mail.
(March 2011) Avoid charity scams - send relief donations to reputable organizations
The shocking images
of the massive earthquake and tsunami in Japan may prompt
generous Hoosiers to donate to disaster relief efforts to help
the victims. Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller urges the
public to verify before donating that relief organizations are
reputable, so that they aren’t scammed. He suggests researching
to check whether a charity uses donations for intended purposes.
(January 2011) SCAM ALERT: People posing as Department of Child Services
workers soliciting donations by phone
Deputy Attorney General Abigail Kuzma, Director of the Consumer Protection Division, offers these tips:
1. Don't be pressured into making a contribution. Ask the caller for written information on the charitable organization, including the charity's name, address, and telephone number. A legitimate charity should be willing to send you materials outlining the charity's purpose and how your donation will be used. You should check out the charity with some of the independent organizations that provide information on charities.
2. Watch out for charities with familiar sounding names. Some charitable organizations use names that are very similar to those of respected organizations. You should check with some of the independent organizations that provide information on charities to make sure you are donating to the correct charity.
3. Beware of callers who claim endorsement by the state. Under Indiana law, a person who solicits charitable contributions may not use the fact of registration as an endorsement by the State of Indiana.
4. Be suspicious if a caller thanks you for making a pledge that you didn't make. If you have any doubt about whether you made a pledge, check your records. Beware of invoices claiming you've made a pledge when you know you have not. Do not share your social security number, bank account number, medicare number or other personal information.
5. You can cancel a pledge prior to making a contribution. Under Indiana law, a contributor has the right to cancel a pledge for monetary contributions at any time prior to making the contribution.
"Government agencies, including DCS, can not and do not solicit
donations ever. If you receive a call from someone saying otherwise,
hang up. Scams disguised as charities are especially disheartening
because not only do those making a donation lose, so do all the
legitimate charities that could have put the money to good use
benefiting our communities," Kuzma said. "It's important to ask
questions and don’t feel pressured to give. Any legitimate non-profit is
going to be happy to provide you with more information about their
services and programs so you can make an informed decision about
Association of Fundraising Professionals
(September 2010) Attorney General Greg Zoeller issues a HIGH warning to all Hoosiers of a widespread scam that involves bogus debt collectors who have an alarming amount of personal information about their potential victims – putting consumers at high risk of identity theft and significant financial losses.
According to the reports received by the Indiana Attorney General’s Office, the fake debt collectors are impersonating law enforcement officers, lawyers or other official sounding agencies such as the “IRS Collection Service.” The scammers use very aggressive tactics to scare the consumer into paying the alleged debt. They accuse the victim of defaulting on a loan and, in some cases, claim they are about to be sued or even worse – they will tell the consumer they will be arrested and taken to jail if they don’t pay. The victims are pressured into wiring money or providing bank account information to avoid the matter “going to court” or to avoid “jail time.” In many cases, victims are subject to dozens of nasty, abusive phone calls in a matter of hours.
Equally disturbing is the amount of private information these bogus collectors have about their victims, which may include Social Security numbers, home addresses, information about employers, credit references and even old bank account numbers. Potential victims are being asked to verify other private information that could put them at high risk of identity theft.
The con artists likely obtained this sensitive information as a result of previous data breaches. This scam has been reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Trade Commission, however consumers currently remain at risk.
If you get one of these calls DO NOT provide any verifying information. Either hang up or demand that the "debt collector" send verification of the debt in writing. Under federal law, collectors are required to send consumers a written notice within five days of the initial contact. Immediately following the call, you should:
Put a fraud alert on your credit file with all of the major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Because the scammers have obtained Social Security numbers, your risk of becoming a victim of identity theft is extremely high. You will automatically receive a copy of your credit report when you issue the fraud alert. Read it carefully and identify any item that is not yours. Look for new accounts or "hard" inquiries – this indicates credit requests have been made in your name.
Place a FREE security freeze on your credit report to block potential identity thieves from accessing your credit. By placing a security freeze, an ID thief cannot use your information to open new credit accounts in your name. To learn more, go to www.IndianaConsumer.com.
If you believe you’ve been
contacted by a fraudulent debt collector you can file a complaint with
the Federal Trade Commission and the
Indiana Attorney General's Office.
(August 2010) 13 Things an Identity Thief Won't Tell You
Former identity thieves have confessed some ways they collect personal information used to steal identities. Attorney General Greg Zoeller is sharing these tactics to help Hoosiers protect themselves against identity theft. (Source: Reader's Digest Magazine).
1. Watch your back in line at the grocery store. I’ll hold my phone like I’m looking at the screen and snap your card as you’re using it. Next thing you know, I’m ordering things online—on your dime.
2. That red flag tells the mail carrier—and me—that you have outgoing mail. And that can mean credit card numbers and checks I can reproduce.
3. Check your bank and credit card balances at least once a week. I can do a lot of damage in the 30 days between statements.
4. In Europe, credit cards have an embedded chip and require a PIN, which makes them a lot harder to hack. Here, I can duplicate the magnetic stripe technology with a $50 machine.
5. If a bill doesn’t show up when it’s supposed to, don’t breathe a sigh of relief. Start to wonder if your mail has been stolen.
6. That’s me driving through your neighborhood at 3 a.m. on trash day. I fill my trunk with bags of garbage from different houses, then sort later.
7. You throw away the darnedest things—preapproved credit card applications, old bills, expired credit cards, checking account deposit slips, and crumpled-up job or loan applications with all your personal information.
8. If you see something that looks like it doesn’t belong on the ATM or sticks out from the card slot, walk away. That’s the skimmer I attached to capture your card information and PIN.
9. Why don’t more of you call 888-5-OPTOUT to stop banks from sending you preapproved credit offers? You’re making it way too easy for me.
10. I use your credit cards all the time, and I never get asked for ID. A helpful hint: I’d never use a credit card with a picture on it.
11. I can call the electric company, pose as you, and say, “Hey, I thought I paid this bill. I can’t remember—did I use my Visa or MasterCard? Can you read me back that number?” I have to be in character, but it’s unbelievable what they’ll tell me.
12. Thanks for using your debit card instead of your credit card. Hackers are constantly breaking into retail databases, and debit cards give me direct access to your banking account.
13. Love that new credit card that showed up in your mailbox. If I can’t talk someone at your bank into activating it (and I usually can), I write down the number and put it back. After you’ve activated the card, I start using it.
Sources: Former identity thieves in Kentucky, Florida, Indiana, Virginia, and New York.
If you believe you’ve been scammed, you can file a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection division online at www.IndianaConsumer.com or by calling 1-800-382-5516.
(02/2010) The Indiana Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Program reunites Hoosiers with millions of dollars worth of unclaimed property each year. While unclaimed property locators or "finders" can help reunite you with unclaimed assets, they charge a fee. The Attorney General’s program is free and easy to use - you can search for and claim your money online at www.IndianaUnclaimed.com.
Unfortunately there are scammers posing as finders and state government agencies attempting to cash in on your hidden treasure. If you receive unsolicited correspondence requesting personal information or money, it may be a “phishing” expedition. Responding could make you vulnerable to identity theft.
To check the legitimacy of correspondence regarding unclaimed property, you may contact the Attorney General’s Unclaimed Property Division or you may report scams to the Consumer Protection Division at www.IndianaConsumer.com or by calling 1-800-382-5516.
Recovery Scams (01/2010)
Secret Shopper Scams (10/2009) Indianapolis - A new scam is conning even the most skeptical Hoosiers out of thousands of dollars by disguising itself as a legitimate way to make a few extra bucks. Anytime you're asked to wire money from a company after receiving a check should be a warning to people to be cautious...more details
Grandparent Scam (2009)Attorney General Greg Zoeller warns of a telephone scam targeting grandparents. The scam involves someone posing as a grandchild asking for money due to an arrest, car accident or another emergency or they pose as a police officer or lawyer requesting money be wired to help the grandchild. While this is not a new scam, the Attorney General’s Office has received recent complaints of this scam indicating its resurgence.
Lottery Scam (08/2009)-(Kokomo, IN) The Howard County Sheriff Department is warning area residents of a bogus lottery scam. Several households have received letters informing them that they have won the shoppers sweepstakes lottery. A fraudulent check is included in the mailing for $4,785. The “winners” are instructed to cash the check and transfer $2,875 via Western Union to a tax agent. Winners are then assured that after the required taxes are paid they will collect additional winnings, which are in excess of $100,000. People who respond to the telephone number provided on the mailings are informed that their name was selected at random because they shop at one of several major retailers. "The check is bogus, and once you wire the tax money it’s gone forever, and your on the hook for the bad check,” said Sheriff Marty Talbert. “It’s all a great big scam perpetrated during hard economic times when folks are vulnerable.” The mailings are from Fidelity Financial Links, Inc. of Toronto, Canada and the fraudulent check is issued from Genlabs, of Chino, California. “Genlabs is a legitimate company, and you can locate them on the internet. One of their company checks has been “washed” to make these fraudulent checks. I spoke to them by telephone this afternoon. They are receiving calls from people all across the country who have lost money,” said Sheriff Marty Talbert. “Remember, you never have to pay money to win money. Taxes can be deducted from your winnings.”
Lottery Scam (10/10/2009) The Ripley County Sheriff's Office received the following email- I'm writing to you in order to ask you about a letter I received in the mail today from Fidelity Financial links INC. Enclosed with the letter stating that I was one of 33 winners of the Shoppers Sweepstakes Lottery, it stated that I have won $125,000.00 US dollars. I was concerned about the check for the amount if $4,875.00 which is part of the money that they say that I am suppose to receive. The check didn't seem right because I saw something like this on the news, so I tried to get to their web site but it didn't show anything about International Claims Department. The address on the check is Fidelity Financial Links INC.,555 Main Street, Williams Ville,NY,14221. On the letter it has the address 483 Bay ST. Toronto On M5G-2N7 Canada. The office line that I am suppose to call is 1-416-732-8173, claim number: HP/JFT-0172, I am suppose to contact (Claims/Disbursement Agent) Mr. Jeff Nelson, that's his direct line. It also has Bryon MCLOUD (Promotion Manager) on the letter. The office hours are 9.00 am- 8.00pm ( Mon.-Fri.) and Saturday: 9.00am-5:00pm.
Property Deed Scan (06/2009)-What these unscrupulous criminals do is create a fraudulent deed from a sample document, which are easily obtained. Then they record the deed at the local recorder’s office in the county in which the property is located, and the true owner doesn’t have a clue. Then the criminals are able to get a mortgage against the property that they don’t even legally own. To protect yourself please visit http://www.propertyfraudalert.com/ripleyin.
809, 284, 876 Area Code Scams (05/2009)- Be cautious when responding to emails or telephone calls from the 809, 284 or 876 area codes. Consumers usually receive a message telling them to call a phone number with these area codes in order to collect a prize, find out information about a sick relative, etc. If you make the return call, it will cause you to inadvertently incur high charges on your phone bill because you calling a phone number outside the U.S.
ATM Thefts-Click on this link for a slide show demonstrating the latest ATM Scam.
Card Scam-You'll receive a phone call from Visa or Master Card stating
they are from the Security and Fraud Department. They will say "your card
has been flagged for an unusual purchase and I am calling to verify the
purchase. They will continue to tell you the purchase and claim they will issue
a credit to your account. Here's the IMPORTANT part- The called will then
ask you to verify you have the card in your possession and ask you for the last
3 numbers on the back of your card. He will then use these three numbers
to make a purchase. Never give out this information-tell the caller you
will contact your credit card person yourself. Hang up and call
Email Scams- Phishing is an online type of identity theft. Criminals create fictitious emails in an attempt to get you to give up personal or financial account information. These fraudulent emails appear to be from trusted companies, financial institutions and even government agencies.
How to recognize a Phishing Email:
* An email includes scare tactics that lead you to believe clicking on a website link is vital to your continued access to your financial accounts or other services.
* There is a request for sensitive information such as your password, PIN number, social security Number or account number. A legitimate company will never ask you for this via email.
* The email message may contain misspelled words, poor grammar, or strange formatting.
If you receive a Phishing email: Contact the institution the email claims to represent by phone. Do not respond to the suspected email or got to any referenced website within the email. If you visit these types of sites, "spyware" software can automatically be installed on your pc without your knowledge, and personal information can then easily be stolen.
These links will take you to the Federal Trade Commission for more information:
Ripley County Sheriff