STATE WIDE–Any time the country or state goes through a disaster, or in this case a pandemic, crooks get clever and try to scam people out of money. Indiana Atty. Gen. Curtis Hill says his office has already been investigating scams where Hoosiers have been fleeced.
Fake utility company calls have been the most common scam so far, said Hill. The threat is that you owe money and they’ll cut your power if you don’t pay immediately.
LISTEN: AG Hill talks scams and protecting yourself
“You can imagine in an environment that we’re in now, where people are hunkered down to stay safe and maintain their utilities because they are in their home, that’s a pretty serious threat,” he said.
Hill said, as with many scams, the older population seems the most vulnerable.
He said that even though his office investigates scams, because of technology it’s often tough to catch the bad guys.
“Many of them are offshore in other countries and just outside the abilities of local law enforcement or even federal law enforcement to take action,” said Hill. But, if you feel like you’ve been scammed or have gotten a call, text or e-mail from a crook, contact www.indianaconsumer.com.
Hill said the best way to protect yourself is to be aware of some of the ways the crooks work and exercise some common sense. Don’t click on links in unsolicited e-mails. Don’t tap on texts asking for money and don’t answer calls from strange numbers.
“Imagine getting a phone call with someone saying, hey we’ve got a cure for the coronavirus, or getting an e-mail that alerts to a particular pill or some type of treatment,” he said. “There is no effective treatment or cure that’s been released as of today and that would, therefore, be an opportunity for a scammer to take advantage of the fears or concerns that many people have.”
Hill said his office is also looking into hoarding or gouging concerning masks and hand sanitizer.