lost to fraud in the last year
Common Scams to be Aware of
Fraud and scams are a concern of many, and a topic that should not be taken lightly. 1 in 10 adults over the age of sixty will be victims of fraud and over the last year more than 2.9 million dollars were lost in scams. The first step in protecting yourself and your loved ones from becoming a victim of fraud or scam is to be aware of the prevalent scams currently being perpetuated and understanding how to spot them. Below are some of the most common scams to be on the lookout for.
Home Improvement Scams
- A person will try to show up at your home, often following a big storm, and will inform you that while they were doing work on a neighbor’s home they noticed damage to your home, often in a location you cannot easily view, such as on your roof. They will try to pressure you into accepting an offer to fix the “damage” at a discounted rate if you agree to it immediately and pay all, or most, up front.
Tips to protect yourself – When having work done around your home always make sure to get a written contract, Indiana law requires it. Make sure the contract is detailed and includes total estimated cost and a time frame for completion. Never pay in full upfront.
You may receive a phone call from someone who claims to be your grandchild, though they will rarely use your grandchild’s name. They will likely tell you a sad story, such as being arrested while on vacation far away from home, and will ultimately ask you for money. Typically, the request will be for an odd type of money, such as prepaid gift cards or money orders to an account number they give you.Tips to protect yourself – Always ask for the caller to identify themselves by name if they claim to be a relative. Before sending money to someone claiming to be a relative, ask for a number to call them back at and then check with other family members to confirm details or call the grandchild in question on their normal phone number. Never agree to pay anyone with prepaid gift cards.
You’ve Won! Scams
You will receive a phone call informing you that you have won a prize you did not register for, often something such as a free cruise or international vacation. These types of scams will usually require you to purchase something or place a deposit in order to claim the prize.Tips to protect yourself – Always ask lots of detailed questions of the caller such as, “what is the name of the organization you work for?”, “If it is free, why are you asking me to pay?”, and “How did I get entered into this contest?” Often the best approach is to simply hang up the phone.
Phony Charity Scams
You may receive a phone call or an email soliciting a donation for a charity that sounds legitimate – often under the guise of helping the less fortunate. This is especially prevalent around the holiday season or following a natural disaster.Tips to protect yourself – Before donating money to any organization, first look up the name of the organization to see if they have a legitimate website and whether or not there are any reviews for the organization. It is always best to donate directly from the webpage of an organization rather than over the phone or through a link provided in an email.
Biometric Test Scams
You may be approached, either online, by phone, or in person, and offered a genetic test such as a genealogy test. The offer will usually involve you submitting a saliva sample to be sent off for testing and you will be assured that Medicare will cover the costs of the test. Later you will likely receive a bill in the mail for several thousand dollars because the test was rejected by Medicare.Tips to protect yourself – Before you ever have any elective tests done make sure you check with your primary physician. It is also wise to check and make sure Medicare will cover any tests you would like to have done prior to the actual test.
Protect Yourself From Fraud
It is important to remember that fraud, especially identity theft, can be both a low-tech or high-tech scam. To help protect yourself from fraud, always report stolen or lost items such as a wallet or checkbook. Shred personal documents such as bills, credit card offers, or any other papers with identifying information prior to discarding them in the trash. Keep your credit frozen when possible and monitor your credit report regularly.
Have You been a Victim?
Are you worried that you or a loved one have already been a victim of fraud? If you would like assistance reporting a scam you can visit the Indiana Attorney General’s website or call them at (317) 232-6201. You can also call the FBI Fraud hotline at 800-CALL-FBI (800-225-5324)
For concerns about Identity Theft, email: IDTheft@atg.in.gov
For concerns about Victim Assistance, email: email@example.com