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Organized Crime Section

3229 N. Shadeland Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana  46226
Telephone: (317) 327-3658

About the Section

On January 1, 2007, the Financial Crimes Section of the Marion County Sheriff's Department and the IPD Organized Crime Section merged to become the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's Organized Crime Section.  With this consolidation, the section now has the responsibility for investigating reported financial crimes in most of Marion County.  (The cities of Beech Grove, Lawrence, and Speedway are not included in this merger and still investigate all crimes occurring in their jurisdictions.)  Some of the financial crimes handled by the Organized Crime Section include bank frauds, computer and internet frauds, counterfeit checks, credit card frauds, home improvement frauds, identity thefts, investment schemes, money laundering, telemarketing frauds, pigeon drops, and numerous other confidence schemes.

US Currency

As many of these crimes involve the jurisdiction of more than one agency, the section works closely with other local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as maintains contact with many financial institutions.

Identity Theft

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Over one-third of the reported financial crimes cases involve some form of ID theft.  In most cases, the victim's name, date of birth, and/or social security number are obtained from stolen identification, and then used to obtain utilities or to open bank or credit accounts.

To help minimize the risk of becoming a victim, check your credit report for unknown accounts or strange inquiries.  As of 2005, you can obtain a free copy of your credit report every 12 months.  For your free report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, or call toll-free 877-322-8228.  For other useful tips and information, check the Federal Trade Commission web site.


If it is too good to be true, it probably is! - Foreign Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams

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(Also referred to as the "Canadian Lottery Scam)

Victims are usually contacted by mail or telephone and told that they have won a big foreign lottery or sweepstakes, but they must pay some fees or taxes before the winnings can be released.  The victim will be given the name of a person in another state or country and instructed to send this payment to them by Western Union or similar means.  The victim may even receive an official looking check and be told to cash or deposit the check then wire some of the money to the specified individual. 

The scammer may also ask for the victim's bank account numbers under the pretense that winnings will be deposited directly, or ask for the victim's credit card numbers for "verification purposes."   Previous victims may be contacted again and told to wire more money, citing complications in paying the necessary taxes or other fees associated with getting the prize.  Or the scammer may pretend to be a Canadian official and request a fee to help the victim recover the money from the earlier scam.

No matter what variation of this "advance fee" scheme, it is important to note:

  1. Playing an international lottery by mail or phone is a violation of U.S. law.
  2. Canada does not have a nationwide "Canadian Lottery".
  3. Legitimate government officials will never solicit fees for any lottery or sweepstakes or to help a victim recover lost funds.
  4. Any foreign "lottery" or "prize commission" check you receive will be counterfeit.  If you cash or deposit the check, the bank will hold you accountable for the amount of the check.
  5. Any money you send to the scammer is gone, and there is little hope of recovery.

The "Nigerian" Scam
Victims of this fraud are usually contacted by email, sometimes by regular mail.  The story is that the sender has access to millions of dollars that can be smuggled out of Nigeria or some other African country with the victim's help.  If the victim will provide their bank account information, he will gladly share the "millions" with them.  Once the sender has the account number, he can pass numerous counterfeit checks drawn on the victim's account.

For more information and tips on these and other fraud schemes, check the Looks Too Good To Be True"  website.

If You Have Information Regarding a Financial Crime
Call the Organized Crime Section at 317-327-3658. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477 or 1-800-92-ALERT. If your information is for an activity outside of the IMPD jurisdiction, it will be forwarded to the proper agency, if possible.  For Canadian lottery and sweepstakes scams, you can contact the Royal Canadian Mounted Police at RECOL or 888-495-8501.