INDIANAPOLIS—The federal court in Indianapolis is warning consumers that scammers are using the United States District Court's main phone number to intimidate people into giving up personal information.
The spoofed phone number, 317-229-3700, appears on the consumer’s caller ID and may even say it’s coming from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
The scammers typically tell consumers the following:
- Their Social Security benefits had been “hacked” and they must provide their Social Security number.
- They are under investigation for prostitution.
- They are under investigation for soliciting.
- They will be arrested.
- They must appear in court no later than a certain time that same day.
- Their phone number showed up on a list based on a phone call they made.
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Many of the victims are of Latino heritage, and in some instances the scammers speak to the victims in Spanish, according to the federal court.
If you’ve been a victim of this phone scam, you can report it to the District Court Clerk’s Office at 317-229-3700; the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov [links.govdelivery.com]; and the U. S. Marshals Service at 317-226-6566.
The U.S. District Court also offered the following tips to consumers:
- Do not divulge personal information or financial information to unknown callers, including those who claim to work for a government agency.
- A fine will never be imposed until after an individual has appeared in court and been given the opportunity to explain a failure to appear.
- A court will never ask for a credit/debit card number, wire transfers, or bank routing numbers over the phone for any purpose.
- Report scams to the District Court Clerk’s Office, U.S. Marshals Service, or Federal Trade Commission.
- You can remain anonymous when you report.
- You can authenticate a call by contacting the Clerk’s Office of the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis at (317) 229-3700 to verify that the court is not requiring any action from you and that the scam call did not come from the court.