Rental Rip-off, Computer Calamity and Free Grant Gimmicks!

April 11, 2017

April 2017 Tips

This list is current as of April 3, 2017. Readers should take into consideration the importance of the practice in question and the total performance of the company. For complete information, please visit

1. Rental scam on Craigslist. A local woman reported she had been scammed. A house rental showed up on Craig’s List, and the male owner told her he regretted buying it and needed to rent it out. She gave him $400 for the deposit and $1200 for 2 months’ rent, paid by Money Gram. Once received, he asked her for money because his daughter was sick and he needed money for healthcare. She declined to pay and discovered that there was no house for rent.

2. He needed a small loan... so he went online and researched small business, personal, and Pay Day loans. That’s when the calls started. The Loan Club offered a $1K to $5K loan, with only $75 needed to get started and paid with an iTunes gift card. Also, his bank and routing number must be provided. He paid the initial $75 and was told by a “Jack Brown” that the iTunes gift card didn’t work and to pay $100 and $50 by iTunes card. Supposedly, those payments didn’t work either so $110 was requested. Our caller never received his loan or his money back!

3. Variations of the “Can You Hear Me?” call. There have been several reports that recorded calls are being received mentioning a warranty bad callexpiring. In order to talk to a customer service representative, one is asked to say “Yes.” If the person says “yes,” it is recorded and the call ends. Supposedly, individuals are being recorded as saying “yes,” and the recording is being used as a way to make purchases. Although we are not aware of anyone who has been scammed, use caution should you receive this call.  Another variation of this call is, “This is the IRS calling. Can you hear me?”

4. Dupont Hospital is not offering a free cruise! Dupont Hospital is not calling individuals and telling them that they have won a free cruise. The caller reporting said the only reason she picked up the phone is because she thought the call was coming from the hospital. Local numbers are often used to trick consumers (called spoofing).

5. NIPSCO call impersonators. We have received reports that individuals are impersonating NIPSCO. They contact people and tell them that their gas/heat will be turned off immediately if their bill isn’t paid. One person wanted $300 for non-payment but said he would accept $210. NIPSCO advised that it is NOT them making these calls.

6. Scary call about a formal complaint. Calls have been received by a person threatening that “A formal complaint is being issued against you and will be served with a document to provide your ID.” If a law suit or formal complaint was truly being filed against someone, a letter would be received. This is a scare tactic used by frauds.

7. Microsoft is shutting down your computer (not really). This call threatens that your Microsoft license will be cancelled in 7 business days if payment is not made. Once this license is cancelled, your computer will be shut down. Calls came from 862-234-5933 on multiple occasions. When number is dialed, it rings busy. Watch out!

8. Grants! Beware! The Grant Department from the US Health and Human Services supposedly is offering a $9200 grant. To receive this, recipients are asked to buy a $200 grant card from Walgreens. In exchange for this, the impersonator says that he will reimburse the $200 by providing a check in the amount of $9400.

A caller reported that she was among 1500 selected for a $7K grant. She qualified because she never filed for bankruptcy, files her taxes on time, and has no criminal record. A confirmation number was provided with a different number to call; she was told that she needed to purchase a $300 activation card from Walmart and given a reference number (47995059). Since she did not have $300 for the activation fee, the caller hung up.

9. Grandpa, I’m in jail. A grandson called his grandpa saying he was in jail and needed him to get a prepaid Visa or Mastercard in the amount of jail$4000 at Home Depot. The call displayed a 317/Indianapolis area code. Fortunately, management at the store intervened when the grandfather was about to send money for the second time, but he lost money in the first transaction. Another grandparent was also recently scammed out of $13,000!

10. Vehicle for sale on Amazon. A woman sells her car on Amazon, saying she needed to sell it because her husband died and that she can’t stand the sight of it. She tells the person she is selling the car to that Amazon is holding the car in storage and that it won’t be shipped until the money is sent to them. When a third party is involved with an online transaction, that’s a red flag!

11. Scams using Google’s name in vain. For more information visit this link.

DO YOU HAVE A SCAM TO REPORT?  Go to to do so.  To date, 65,869 individuals have reported scams nationwide.