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Monday, June 17, 2024

Who do I call?: Sneaky scammers edition

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“No, grandpa, that was a scam.”

Six words you and someone you know have probably uttered recently. In the age of technology, old-school scammers continue to target the vulnerable. Solicitors, scam calls and mail scams are all still a problem. So, who do you call when you or a loved one becomes the victim?

Who do I call when scam calls just won’t stop?

Whether it’s the landline that won’t stop ringing off the hook or a cell phone that dings every five minutes, the Indiana Attorney General’s office has a solution. To register for the Indiana Do Not Call list, residents can go to their online portal at indonotcall.org or by calling 1-888-834-9969. Prospective participants have to provide their phone number(s), name and address.

The Do Not Call list also applies to text messages, but the list does not limit political or survey calls, only sales and some charitable solicitations. Companies who have a previously determined business relationship with residents, real estate agents, newspaper employees and broadband internet services are exempt.

If you receive a call after your number has been placed on the list, the Indiana Attorney General’s office can investigate. Complete an online complaint form at in.gov/attorneygeneral or call 1-888-834-9969 to request a form mailed to them. If the solicitor is investigated and found to have violated the list, they can be fined up to $25,000.

When solicitors keep showing up at my door?

Whether it’s the internet company, the cable company or the solar panel salesman at your doorstep, there are ways to deter them.  Placing a visible “no soliciting” sign on your door or surrounding area can assure you won’t be bothered.

If you live in a community with an HOA, you can reach out to them directly for more information about your neighborhood’s solicitation policies. It is important to note that, according to IMPD, no solicitation signs at neighborhood entrances are not enough to legally prevent solicitors from coming to your door. Signs must be placed on individual homes to make solicitation enforceable.

If the door-to-door solicitors continue despite signage, residents can call the non-emergency police line at 1-317-327-3811 to report the incident.

 IMPD advises never to ignore someone at the door, as it could be someone looking to break in. Instead, open the door and point out the sign to the solicitor. If the problem persists, citizens can call 311. If at any point residents feel threatened or unsafe, IMPD advises calling 911.

To report a mail scam?

There are a few signs to look out for when going through your mail for scams. Firstly, according to U.S. Postal Service, be wary of anything offering a prize, money or rewards. Mail fraud is often centered around scams involving the lottery, sweepstakes, fraud against veterans, job opportunities and phishing for personal information.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service offers Americans tips on how to protect yourself and your loved ones from mail scams.

  1. Do not share financial information.
  2. Do not be pressured to enter a contest, make a purchase or donate.
  3. Do your research. Check the Better Business Bureau’s website to make sure a business is legit.
  4. Discuss the mail with family and friends before sending money.
  5. Block telemarketing calls.
  6. Always read the fine print. The Postal Service has an online mail fraud complaint form to report scams or call 1-800-372-8347 to file a complaint.

The Postal Service keeps a running list of current and previously running mail scams to help keep residents informed. Citizens can find that list at uspis.gov.

Contact Staff Writer Hanna Rauworth at 317-762-7854 or follow her on Instagram at @hanna.rauworth.

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