Indiana State Police at Evansville are currently investigating two separate incidents where individuals have handed over money to an unknown male claiming to be a landlord who is about to evict his tenants. Indiana State Police Detectives believe this male will continue to scam others if given the opportunity.
On April 15th, an Evansville Pastor received a phone call from a person alleging to be indigent and explained that he would be evicted from his residence on Telephone Road in Warrick County unless he could pay his landlord $95.00 to partially cover the rent he owed. He further explained that his wife was currently being treated for health issues at Deaconess Gateway Hospital in Newburgh. The pastor agreed to meet the landlord at the hospital. Sometime between 3:00 – 3:40 p.m., the pastor drove to the hospital and met the alleged landlord and insisted on speaking to the tenants before he would turn over the check. The man led the pastor into the hospital and into an empty patient room. The pastor was told that the couple must be in the lab for tests. They both walked to the lab, but failed to find the tenants. The pastor eventually handed over the check for $95. After the landlord left, the pastor checked with the front information desk and discovered that the woman was not even a patient at the hospital. He was able to stop payment on the check.
In February, an unknown male contacted a representative of St. Vincent DePaul Society in Evansville. The male caller claimed a couple was being evicted from their home because they couldn’t pay their rent. The caller further claimed that the landlord had agreed to drop eviction proceedings if they could come up with $120 for the rent they owed. The representative from St. Vincent DePaul Society later met the alleged landlord at Schnucks’ parking lot on the west side of Evansville and handed him a check for $120. The representative became suspicious later when all the phone numbers he had been given for the tenants and landlord were either disconnected or not correct. He also discovered the address given to him as the residence where the tenants were being evicted from was a vacant lot.
Suspect Information: It is not known at this time if the male portraying himself as the landlord is acting alone or if he has others that are assisting. Detectives say the suspect is a white male and approximately 40-years-old. No other description is available at this time.
Indiana State Police Detectives would like to warn everyone that scams occur almost every day and it’s important to do some research before turning over cash to a stranger. Detectives also believe there are possibly additional victims that have not contacted police. Anyone with information concerning these incidents is encouraged to contact Indiana State Police at 812-867-2079 or 1-800-852-3970.
From the Evansville Police Department: We have been made aware of a credit card scam that is happening in the Midwest. It has not been reported here, yet. We hope to prevent anyone from falling victim to this latest scam. Here is the basic info:
The victim receives a call from someone claiming to be from the VISA or MASTERCARD Security and Fraud Department. They tell you that they have spotted an unusual transaction on your account for an amount just under $500 and ask if you purchased the item. When you tell them “NO”, they tell you they have had a problem with this same type of transaction and it is a scam.
Here is where they get you. They already have your credit card number. They only need the 3 number code on the back so THEY can make a fraudulent charge on your card. To get you to give them the 3 number code, they offer to give you a “credit” on your account for the original amount they told you had been fraudulently charged. Once you give them the 3 number code, the immediately make a fraudulent charge on your account. Most people do not realize anything is wrong because they never asked for the credit card number. When the next bill arrives, there is no “credit” and a fraudulent transaction is shown on the bill.
To avoid this and ALL financial scams you should NEVER give any financial information to anyone who has called you or e-mailed you. If you receive a call and are not sure if it is legitimate, you should hang up and call the company yourself. Make sure the number you are calling is the official telephone number listed on the company website or in the phone book.
SOURCE: Evansville Police Department - Nixle
Evansville, Ind. – Vectren is warning customers of a multi-state bill payment scam. As part of the scam, customers receive an unsolicited phone call from a fraudulent individual claiming to be a representative for the utility company. The fraudulent individual warns that the utility will disconnect the customer’s utility service if the customer fails to make an immediate payment – usually within an hour.
Customers are instructed to purchase a prepaid debit card from a local store and call the fraudulent individual back to supposedly make a payment to the utility company.
Upon calling the fraudulent individual back, the customer is asked to provide the receipt number and PIN number from the prepaid debit card, giving the fraudulent individual instant access to the card’s funds and the ability to immediately drain its balance.
Vectren does not currently accept prepaid credit or debit cards for payment and would never require a customer to purchase one in order to make a payment of any type.
If at any time customers are contacted by phone or in person from anyone claiming to represent Vectren and asking for personal or payment information, they should immediately call Vectren’s customer service operations at 800-227-1376 to verify the legitimacy of the request.
To report a scam, visit the Better Business Bureau website www.bbb.org/scam
The Evansville Police Department has received complaints from residents about a telephone call asking for personal information.
The calls were received on the morning of the 15th. The caller claimed to be associated with Medicare. The caller stated they needed bank account info and a social security number in order to activate a new Medicare card.
We are reminding the public that they should never give out that type of information to someone who contacts them via telephone or email. If you need to take care of an issue with Medicare, your bank, Social Security, or any other agency, you should contact them yourself.
We have not been notified of anyone who has given the info to the caller or of any fraudulent transactions.
From a Drug Enforcement Administration News Release - November 27, 2012:
The Drug Enforcement Administration continues to warn the public about criminals posing as DEA special agents or other law enforcement personnel. This criminal activity continues to occur, despite significant public attention to the illicit scheme. DEA offices nationwide regularly receive telephone calls from concerned citizens who are the victims of this extortion effort.
The criminals call the victims (who in most cases previously purchased drugs over the internet or by telephone) and identify themselves as DEA agents or law enforcement officials from other agencies. The impersonators inform their victims that purchasing drugs over the internet or by telephone is illegal, and that enforcement action will be taken against them unless they pay a fine. In most cases, the impersonators instruct their victims to pay the "fine" via wire transfer to a designated location, usually overseas. If victims refuse to send money, the impersonators often threaten to arrest them or search their property. Some victims who purchased their drugs using a credit card also reported fraudulent use of their credit cards.
Impersonating a federal agent is a violation of federal law. The public should be aware that no DEA agent will ever contact members of the public by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment.
The DEA reminds the public to use caution when purchasing controlled substance pharmaceuticals by telephone or through the internet. It is illegal to purchase controlled substance pharmaceuticals online or by telephone unless very stringent requirements are met. All pharmacies that dispense controlled substance pharmaceuticals by means of the internet must be registered with DEA. By ordering any pharmaceutical medications online or by telephone from unknown entities, members of the public risk receiving unsafe, counterfeit, and/or ineffective drugs from criminals who operate outside the law. In addition, personal and financial information could be compromised.
Anyone receiving a telephone call from a person purporting to be a DEA special agent or other law enforcement official seeking money should refuse the demand and report the threat.
Report Extortion Scam: 1-877-792-2873
There is a new “drive-by” virus on the Internet, and it often carries a fake message—and fine—purportedly from the FBI. “We’re getting inundated with complaints,” said Donna Gregory of the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), referring to the virus known as Reveton ransomware, which is designed to extort money from its victims.
Reveton is described as drive-by malware because unlike many viruses—which activate when users open a file or attachment—this one can install itself when users simply click on a compromised website. Once infected, the victim’s computer immediately locks, and the monitor displays a screen stating there has been a violation of federal law.
The bogus message goes on to say that the user’s Internet address was identified by the FBI or the Department of Justice’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section as having been associated with child pornography sites or other illegal online activity. To unlock their machines, users are required to pay a fine using a prepaid money card service.
“Some people have actually paid the so-called fine,” said the IC3’s Gregory, who oversees a team of cyber crime subject matter experts. (The IC3 was established in 2000 as a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. It gives victims an easy way to report cyber crimes and provides law enforcement and regulatory agencies with a central referral system for complaints.)
“While browsing the Internet a window popped up with no way to close it,” one Reveton victim recently wrote to the IC3. “The window was labeled FBI and said I was in violation of one of the following: illegal use of downloaded media, under-age porn viewing, or computer-use negligence. It listed fines and penalties for each and directed me to pay $200 via a MoneyPak order. Instructions were given on how to load the card and make the payment. The page said if the demands were not met, criminal charges would be filed and my computer would remain locked on that screen.”The Reveton virus, used by hackers in conjunction with Citadel malware—a software delivery platform that can disseminate various kinds of computer viruses—first came to the attention of the FBI in 2011.
The IC3 issued a warning on its website in May 2012. Since that time, the virus has become more widespread in the United States and internationally. Some variants of Reveton can even turn on computer webcams and display the victim’s picture on the frozen screen.
“We are getting dozens of complaints every day,” Gregory said, noting that there is no easy fix if your computer becomes infected. “Unlike other viruses,” she explained, “Reveton freezes your computer and stops it in its tracks. And the average user will not be able to easily remove the malware.”
The IC3 suggests the following if you become a victim of the Reveton virus:
- Do not pay any money or provide any personal information.
- Contact a computer professional to remove Reveton and Citadel from your computer.
- Be aware that even if you are able to unfreeze your computer on your own, the malware may still operate in the background. Certain types of malware have been known to capture personal information such as user names, passwords, and credit card numbers through embedded keystroke logging programs.
- File a complaint and look for updates about the Reveton virus on the IC3 website.
Example of monitor display when computer is infected with Reveton ransomware
From EvansvilleWatch on Facebook: Warrick County Dispatch says they are getting calls from Heritage Federal Credit Union customers reporting a scam. The customers say they are getting a text message asking them to call a number due to a problem with their bank account. When called, the person asks you for your private account information. Dispatch said they were contacting Heritage Federal to let them know this was going on. People throughout Warrick and Vanderburgh County, even those who do not bank at HFCU, have reported on EvansvilleWatch that they have received the message asking them to call.
Please, DO NOT CALL! This is definitely a scam. If you did reply to the message and gave your account information, contact your bank/credit card holder immediately.
Update: 12:30pm > Heritage Federal Credit Union has posted the following message on their website:
Fraudulent Text messages: We are aware of the text messages claiming to be from Heritage Federal Credit Union. HFCU will NEVER send you a text message requesting personal or card information. DO NOT respond to these message as they are Fraudulent. Please do not provide any account information.
A FB FOLLOWER PROVIDED US WITH THIS COPY OF THE TEXT HE RECEIVED TODAY