The novel coronavirus presents various challenges not only to Hoosiers’ health but also to Hoosier consumers purchasing essential goods and engaging in other consumer transactions. The Office of the Attorney General is working hard to identify new scams, alert consumers to protect themselves, and take appropriate action against companies that take advantage of this global pandemic to violate the law.
To learn more about the specific actions that you should take to protect yourself and your family’s health, please visit the following websites for up to date expert information:
To get more information about how the federal government is responding to the coronavirus and obtain additional information about their resources, please visit: https://www.usa.gov/coronavirus
COVID-19 & CONSUMERS
Landlord and Tenant Settlement Conference Program: This free program helps to facilitate settlements between landlords and tenants. For more information or to make a facilitation request click here.
Be cautiously charitable: The attorney general says Hoosiers should be careful when considering making charitable donations amid the outbreak. Click here to learn how to avoid a charity scam, and click here to report them to the Office of the Attorney General.
Canceled events: The attorney general offers guidance to Hoosiers who purchased tickets to events that have been canceled or postponed in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Work-from-home scams: The attorney general says to be wary of work-from-home scams during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Click here to learn more.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT COVID-19
1. How do I file a consumer complaint?
You may file a consumer complaint with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General online or by filling out and mailing a printable form. You may also request a complaint form by calling 1-800-382-5516 or 317-232-6330.
You should use this form if you would like to report price gouging, licensing issues, scams, and fraud schemes. There are separate forms for gas gouging complaints, identity theft complaints, and robocall complaints.
If not submitting your form online, completed consumer complaint forms and all relevant supporting documentation should be sent to the Consumer Protection Division of the Office of the Indiana Attorney General. The address is 302 W. Washington St., IGCS 5th Floor, Indianapolis, IN, 46204.
2. How does the consumer complaint process work?
Within seven to 10 working days of our office receiving a complaint and documentation, a copy of the complaint is sent to the business listed on the complaint form. A letter is then sent to the consumer who filed a complaint notifying them of who has been assigned to their file.
The response time of the business determines how quickly the office can determine the next course of legal actions. The typical length of time for complaint resolution is 90 days. However, depending on the circumstances of your complaint, it may take longer.
3. What are some tips to avoid phishing scams?
- Be on alert for communications with dangerous attachments or fraudulent links.
- Treat any emails or text with subject lines or information about coronavirus with caution.
- Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails and be wary of email attachments.
- Always verify the email addresses of those who send you emails.
- Use trusted, legitimate government websites to obtain up-to-date information.
- Don't reveal personal or financial information via email or text message.
- Verify the authenticity of a charity before donating money.
4. What should I do if I suspect unemployment-related fraud?
If you discover you are a victim of identity fraud, here's what you should do:
- File a complaint with our Office by clicking here.
- File reports with the Federal Trade Commission, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development and your local police department, and the Indiana State Police.
- Place a security freeze and a fraud alert on your credit reports.
- Close any accounts that may have been impacted by the identity fraud.
If you or someone you know has fallen victim to a scam, report it to the Consumer Protection Division by filing a consumer complaint here. If you need to reach the Consumer Protection Division, you may call (317) 232-6330.
5. Should I trust advertisements for products that claim to cure the coronavirus?
No. There are currently no products scientifically proven to treat or cure the virus.
Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or the Indiana State Department of Health websites for the latest information about current treatment protocols and where to obtain testing or information about available vaccines
6. What should I do if I'm being evicted during this public health emergency?
File a consumer complaint with our Consumer Protection Division if you believe your landlord is acting contrary to current federal or state guidelines or other statutory requirements. Currently there are no active state or federal prohibitions on landlords filing for evictions in Indiana.
If our office receives a complaint asserting that an eviction proceeding has been initiated contrary to an active federal or state prohibition, a staff member of our office may contact the landlord in order to obtain information regarding the current status of the tenant and their lease.
Check the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's resources for renters, homeowners and landlords here.
7. What should I do if my mortgage lender begins the foreclosure process during this public health emergency?
File a consumer complaint with our Consumer Protection Division if you believe your lender is acting contrary to current federal or state guidelines or other statutory requirements.
If our office receives a complaint asserting that a foreclosure has been initiated improperly, a staff member of our office may contact the mortgage lender in order to obtain information regarding the current status of the mortgage.
If you need mortgage assistance, call (877)-GETHOPE or visit this website for more free assistance. Learn about options to help your situation, like repaying any amount not paid during forbearance, avoiding foreclosure, and maintaining your reverse mortgage on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's website.
8. What should I know about charity scams?
Scammers take advantage of good-heartedness, and that's especially true in times of crisis. Research any organization to which you'd like to give money before doing so, and be cautious if an organization contacts you and asks for a donation. Don't be pressured to make a donation over the phone or to make a donation without doing your research.
Report charity scams to the Office of the Indiana Attorney General by filing a consumer complaint.
9. I bought a ticket to an event that was canceled due to the coronavirus. What are my options?
Review the terms and conditions of your purchase to determine whether it is refundable. If you are not sure, contact the venue from which you purchased the ticket in an effort to get the remedy you are looking for.
If the terms being offered by the entity are not what was previously advertised, report this to the Office of the Indiana Attorney General by filing a consumer complaint.
10. I still need help. Who should I contact?
You may contact our Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-382-5516 or 317-232-6330.
The Office of the Indiana Attorney General represents the state of Indiana and cannot act as your personal attorney. It is our responsibility to protect public interests. In doing so, we may file lawsuits on behalf of the state against companies that violate laws protecting consumers.
We cannot represent individual consumers when filing lawsuits nor can the office file a lawsuit whose only purpose is to recover money or property for an individual. In these instances, the consumer should seek legal advice from a private attorney, legal aid society, or other organizations.
FILE A COMPLAINT
In addition to specific coronavirus scams and potentially unlawful price increases, Hoosiers may experience challenges with a variety of consumer transactions.The Office of the Attorney General can work to mediate, and potentially investigate, complaints about the following types of conduct that may occur during this crisis. Please submit an online complaint:
- Failure to provide refunds
- Offers for “miracle” cures
- Email Phishing scams
- Charitable donation scams
- Failure to provide refunds
- Unreasonable cancellation fees
- Closed businesses
- Gift cards
- Investment scams
- Work from Home scams
- Landlord/Tenant issues
Office of the Indiana Attorney General Complaint Forms