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Bad Weather Scams

December 20th, 2007 by Cpl Edward Koczan

Because of recent bad weather the South Bend Police Department would like to remind citizens to be aware of scams.

During times like this, criminals will target the elderly and the most vulnerable in our society. The Police Department would like to provide a few tips to avoid being scammed.

  • Never allow strangers inside your home.
  • Ask "officials" to produce identification and confirm their alleged employment.
  • Contact the utility company by telephone if any employee wants to enter your home or asks you to go outside with them.
  • Beware of unsolicited home repairmen.
  • If you do request services: Check with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ask for references and call them.
  • Get several repair estimates and compare prices (if possible).
  • Be suspicious of high pressure tactics.
  • Write down the license plate number of any suspicious vehicle(s) the suspect(s) may be operating.
  • Talk with a trusted friend or relative before making major money decisions (if possible).
  • Pay by check so you can stop payment if you are dissatisfied.
  • If possible never pay cash.
  • If you do pay cash do not pay up-front until work is completed and you are satisfied.

In addition, The Federal Bureau of Investigation office for Southern Indiana is warning Hoosiers of a new scam floating about the area.

Special Agent Michael Welch and US Marshal Peter Swaim have been investigating an ongoing scheme involving jury service. Apparently, the scam involves people calling your home, and identifying themselves as US Court employees, informing people they have supposedly missed jury duty.

They then ask for your personal information such as name, address, social security number, date of birth, and other pieces of information that could be used to steal your identity and defraud you. People who have refused are then told they will be fined or arrested or face some other sort of penalty.

Welch and Swaim want to urge that the court system does not contact people by phone and ask for any information for any reason. If someone calls your home saying they are a court employee requesting information, hang up and contact authorities.

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