Lowell Police Department

(219) 696-0411

Lowell Police Department
1333 East Commercial Ave.
Lowell, IN 46356-2168

(219) 696-0411

for emergencies dial 911

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avoiding scams

Scammers can be found just about everywhere these days. Some are easy to identify while others are so good at it that they may seem like completely genuine offers.

Many people are approached by great deals or bargains that seem too good to be true while some scams can even take place without the victim's knowledge. Most of the time these scam requires some form of action but there are some that don't. It's a good idea to brush up on some tips to help you avoid them and protect yourself and your family. We've also included some examples of popular scams so you can be aware and know what's happening and take preventative measures.

Tips to avoid scams
Popular scams to watch out for

tips to avoid scams

  • If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Get a second opinion from a professional if the offer involves a lot of money, time or commitment.
  • 'Get Rich Quick' doesn't work. The only ones making money on your 'investment' is the scammer
  • Never agree to anything right away. Say you want to think about it first and then do some research.
  • Don't ever give your credit card information or bank account information to anyone you don't know.
  • Monitor your credit history, credit report and bank account regularly. If you see something that looks suspitious, notify the bank or credit card company immediately.
  • Keep important papers and cards (ATM, credit cards, social security cards, etc.) in a safe place and never give anyone the information that is on them or share any PIN numbers.
  • Read terms and conditions of any offer thoroughly and make sure you understand them before you take any action.
  • Before you sign up for anything, make the cancellation steps are clear.
  • Be wary of anything that uses the words 'guarantee' or 'win'
  • Beware of anything that requires and up front fee.
  • Don't give out information such as name, address, numbers, and any other personal information to anyone you don't know or trust unless absolutely necessary.
  • Use a paper shredder. Scammers can get everything they need from statements, old bills, etc.
  • Keep everything in a safe place.
  • Don't transfer money to anyone you don't know.
  • Avoid all pyramid schemes.
  • Get everything in writing whenever possible.
  • When taking phone calls, never give your personal information to anyone unless you made the call yourself and you know the person on the other end.
  • If you get a text from a number you don't recognize, it's probably someone trying to get information out of you. It's best to ignore these, even if they use your name.
  • Don't open emails that look suspicious or are from someone you don't know and definitely don't click links or download attachments.
  • Make sure your computer has antivirus software installed on it. If you aren't sure what to have, you can call a computer repair shop for recommendations or ask someone you know and trust.
  • Only download computer software or programs from trusted and reputable sites. Even then, you should be wary of the website and the link that brought you there.
  • Beware of websites that offer free downloads. Try not to visit them because they can download harmful programs to your computer without your knowledge.
  • Never enter personal or credit card information on a website that isn't secure. How do you know? Check to make sure the website address starts with 'https'.
  • Don't send personal or credit card information by email.
  • Never use public computers (such as from a library or internet cafe) for personal reasons where entering personal or banking/credit card information is needed.
  • Use 'difficult to guess' passwords for everything and make sure each one is different.


popular scams

  • Cell Phone Companies - There has been a fake email going around that seems like a bill from Verizon Wireless. This 'bill' shows a balance due that is a very high amount. Some scammers will use a scare tactic to get people to lower their guard and 'make a payment.' Before you every pay on these, check your account from the official website or call the company. These emails look official so be sure you know what's happening with your cell phone.
  • Gift Card Scams - One of the newest scams involves stripping gift cards before they are ever purchased. Scammers will scan or copy the account number on the back of gift cards then wait for it to be activated. Once that happens, they spend the money before you even know it happened. To avoid this type of scam: keep your receipt that shows proof of purchase, don't buy a card that looks damaged or has a PIN number revealed, opt for an online gift certificate if possible.
  • Craigslist House for Sale - Some NWI home owners, who were selling their homes, noticed the property listed on Craigslist. The photos and details were copied from the Greater Northwest Indiana Realtors Association and listed the homes as rentals. The scammer asks for a wire transfer of the rental costs. Avoid these scams by always verifying information from the proper sources when dealing with any sale or purchase, never wiring money to anyone, never rent or buy a house without seeing it in person from the realtor or current homeowner, and don't submit to credit checks or background checks for housing unless you have met with the homeowner or agent in person.
  • Telemarketing - A lot of scammers know that telephone is the easiest way to get information. They tend to target older people who are willing to give banking or credit card information over the phone without knowing what they are buying or who they are giving that personal information to. It's very difficult to get your money back if the scam was over the phone so never give information to anyone. Some signs that it's a scam: A message saying you 'must act now'; you've won a free gift, vacation, or prize; paying for shipping and handling for a free gift or prize; sending money, giving bank account numbers, or credit card information to get your free item; the scammer saying that you don't need to check out the company or talk to anyone else about the offer; it's a no-risk offer. If you hear anything like this, don't give any information, tell them 'no thanks' and hang up.
  • Emails - Have you ever received those emails from people claiming to have money for you if you do a transfer for them? They are all scams. Most say they will give you 1 million dollars or some other extremely large amount and all you have to do is transfer it to your bank account or another account of their choosing. These emails may also contain information of the sender asking for help to get into the country. They say that all expenses will be paid back after the person is out of their own country - usually Nigeria. Avoid these emails at all costs and never give them any information that can be traced back to you. You may not only lose money, but you may be lured to Nigeria where you can be imprisoned by their government. Protect yourself by never dealing with anyone from a different country that you don't already know. You should also notify the U.S. government of emails of this nature.
  • Identity Theft - Identity theft is when another person assumes your identity to perform fraud or another criminal act. This can be done by stealing your wallet, going through your trash to get personal information, or commpromising your credit card or bank account information. This can also happen by someone asking for that information in person, over the phone, or through the internet. Prevent identity theft by protecting ATM, bank, social security and credit cards; never give credit card information over the phone unless you make the call, report stolen information immediately, and monitor your credit and bank information for discrepencies or suspicious behavior.
  • Insurance Fraud - Sometimes, unnecessary and/or fake tests can be performed at health clubs, retirement homes, or shopping malls and billed to the victim's insurance company. Medicare fraud can also occur and usually target senior citizens. Scammers can bribe corrupt doctors into signing fake medical papers or fake the signatures themselves. Once this occurs, the medicare company is billed for equipment or services that were never ordered or needed. To avoid medical fraud: never sign blank forms; never give blanket authorization to a medical provider to bill for services rendered; know your out-of-pocket costs up front; review explanation of benefits statements; never do business with door-to-door or over-the-phone salespeople who claim to offer free equipment or services; only give medical information to those that have performed the service.



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