Fishers police warns community of fraud

Fishers Police Department Officer Shawn Wynn talks about fraud awareness on Nov. 8, 2017, outside the Fishers Police Department. (WISH Photo)

FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — The Fishers Police Department is preparing local businesses to combat fraud schemes by going door-to-door a week ahead of International Fraud Awareness Week.

The week of increased awareness doesn’t begin until Sunday, November 12th, but already Fishers Police Detective Dean Muchas has visited several businesses with a fraud prevention kit targeted to local business owners.

“We have a lot businesses here in Fishers, obviously a lot are coming in, and there’s a lot of potential for fraud,” said Officer Shawn Wynn at Fishers PD. “So we want to make these businesses aware of common fraud schemes and different things they can do to prevent it from ever happening in the first place.”

The kit includes a packet of information detailing known fraud practices in the area, including “The Directory Listing Scam” where a business’ private information is confirmed over the phone for a phony area business directory. There’s also “The URL Hustle” where a business is notified that their website URL is expiring if they don’t pay a fee now, and “The Supply Swindle” where boxes of office supplies show up at the door, an employee pays for them assuming his or her boss approved the purchase, only to find the boxes are empty and no supplies were ordered.

Officer Wynn says his department also warns businesses of potential technology breaches like copier data security.

“It runs like a computer,” he said. “There’s information on that copier. People have scanned things and people have emailed from the copier, and it’s all stored in there and there are ways to get all that information.”

Fishers PD is also warning businesses that their customers may already be victims of a scam when they walk in the door.

An arrest report for a woman in January 2017 details how a local tire company fell victim to a woman posing as a customer.

“This case spotlights how easy it is for someone to take your information,” said Officer Wynn. “This woman has no idea how the information was obtained, but it was.”

The arrest report explains how a woman came to Indy Tire in Fishers with a name, address, and vehicle VIN number for a customer already in the company’s system.

“In this case a woman contacted our police department because she realized another woman had used her identity at a tire store here in Fishers for a tire for her vehicle,” explained Officer Wynn.

Fishers police say Corrine Bowman, 37, was arrested in the case. She allegedly came into the store with stolen information, got a new tire put on her car, picked up her keys, and drove off. When the company went to bill the provided account, the real owner on the account had a lot of questions.

Officers say the victim didn’t know how Bowman obtained her information, but say it could have been as easy as intercepting a piece of mail.

“An important step for preventing fraud for homeowners, or for businesses is whatever information you get in the mail, personal information, account information, make sure you shred it,” said Officer Wynn. “Don’t just throw it in the trash can because people can go through there and there’s plethora of information.”

To reach more people in the Fishers community, officers will hold an information session for the general public at the police station (4 Municipal Drive), Tuesday, November 14th at 7 p.m. They add if you believe you or your business is a victim of a fraudulent scheme, to contact your local police department immediately and they will put you in contact with the appropriate authorities, depending on the type of fraud.

For more information on Fraud Prevention Week, click here.