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ISP offers tips on avoiding scammers

The Indiana State Police is offering the following information on avoiding scammers:

With the recent tornados in southeastern Indiana and citizens repairing and rebuilding, scammers will take this opportunity to take advantage of those whose properties have been impacted.  If you have damaged or destroyed property, before contracting anyone soliciting repair work, follow these tips: 

  • Ask the representative for references from former clients and then call or visit those references.
  • Do not let the representative intimidate or pressure you into the work.
  • Call the Better Business Bureau.
  • Obtain quotes from other businesses that you know to be legitimate.
  • Always have a written contract outlining what is going to be done, how much it will cost, and how long it will take to complete the job. Never pay up front.

While there are legitimate businesses that come to your home to solicit work, consumers should always check on the business before allowing any work to be done.

For more information, visit the Indiana Attorney General's website at

In addition to those scam artists seeking to take advantage of those affected by the tornados, the "grandparent" scammers appear to be working in southeastern Indiana again.  On March 6 a Ripley County senior was contacted by a very emotional young woman claiming to be his granddaughter.  Because she was speaking so hysterically over the phone he could barely understand her but she gave her name (which was actually his granddaughter's name) and said she had traveled to Bolivia and had been arrested for possession of marijuana and needed $2,515 for bond so she could be released to the United States the next day.  She also begged him to not tell anyone about her situation, especially her mother because she didn't want her to worry.  Then another woman got on the phone claiming to be the young lady's attorney.  She said he needed to wire the money right away because his granddaughter was scheduled to appear in court in two hours.  He was directed to wire the money via Western Union and given the name of a person the money should be transferred to.  The attorney said she'd call back later but never did.  The senior then made a phone call to his granddaughter who was not in Bolivia, but at her home in Chicago, IL.  No money was transferred and the alert senior citizen avoided the scam.

These scammers target senior citizens in hopes of playing on their sympathies and their willingness to help their grandchildren.  If you receive a call like this, do the following: 

  • Write down the number from your Caller ID and Google it.  If told to call a certain number, Google that number too.
  • VERIFY who you are talking to.  Ask personal questions only the real "grandchild" would know the answers to.
  • If told, "Don't tell Mom and Dad" BEWARE.  After hanging up, call "Mom and Dad" anyway tell them of the call you just received.

If money is sent out of the United States, there is nothing law enforcement can do and the money can NEVER be recovered.

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