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Police urging older Hoosiers to be aware of various phone scams

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – State police want Hoosiers to be aware of phone scams that are targeting victims ages 60 and up.

Officers say some of the latest scams involve individuals calling potential victims claiming to be from bill collecting agencies, an internal revenue service or law enforcement entities. The caller reportedly explains that money is owed to any one of these services and that if it isn’t paid, the victim will be arrested.

Lt. Paul Bucher says the criminals do their homework.

“They research your family tree and obtain names and ages of loved ones in your family,” said Bucher. “They may also skim your family’s social media pages to arm themselves with the information they need to sound like they have firsthand knowledge of those closest to you, even to the point of knowing where they are at the time of the scam.”

One specific scam involves a caller claiming the victim’s grandson “Matthew” has been arrested following a crash near an area where “Matthew” may be located. The victim is then placed on a short hold and another person comes on the line and identifies themselves as an attorney and explains “Matthew’s” options for release.

Finally, the scammers may go as far as to put “Matthew” on the phone and speak to the victim himself, begging them to send money. If the victim expresses doubt that their loved one doesn’t sound like himself, the scammer quickly explains that he is still shaken up from the crash or that he has some type of facial or neck injury that makes him sound different over the phone.

State police believe that “a well-informed public with a healthy dose of mistrust” is the best defense in combating phone scammers.

Officers say if you receive a phone call regarding unpaid taxes, fees or other bills, you should always confirm the legitimacy of that claim through other means.

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