Don't Be A Victim: How To Avoid Scams.
In April 2016, Livable Community co-sponsored a free lunch seminar for
Money Smart Week, where staff from MidWestOne bank shared lessons on how
to avoid common financial scams and fraud. Co-sponsored by the Iowa City Public Library, MidWestOne, and Johnson County Livable Community.
Tips from the Iowa City Police Department:
According to Crime Prevention Officer Ashten Hayes, the Iowa City
Police Department receives numerous calls regarding scams aimed at
the elderly, especially those in nursing homes. Financial exploitation
is defined by Iowa Statute as “the act or process of taking unfair
advantage of an individual or taking assets or resources for your own
profit or gain. This includes the use of undue influence, harassment,
duress, deception or false representation”. The following are examples
of current scams in our community:
- Grandchild in Distress – You receive a call
from someone claiming to be your grandchild – they even wait to let you
say the grandchild’s name and continue to build on you thinking they are
your grandchild, and stating they are in distress (in jail, stranded,
etc.). The person on the other end of the phone gives a distressing
story and asks you to wire money immediately to a location.
- Bank Examiner Scam – You receive a call from a “bank examiner / employee” who needs you to withdraw funds to help catch a stealing employee.
- Utility Company Scam – You receive a call
claiming they are Mid-American Energy, your cable company or any other
utilities you might use, claiming that if you don’t immediately pay your
outstanding bill they will shut off your utilities.
- Lotto / Sweepstakes Scam – You receive a phone
call, email or letter stating you have just won a foreign lottery. They
ask for upfront payment of taxes to be wired before your winnings are
deposited into your account.
- Classifieds Scam – You place an item for sale
or lease in the newspaper classifieds or on Craig’s List, and receive a
call from someone wanting to pay more than you have requested. The
person tells you they are going to send you a check for double the
amount and requests you send them back a portion, then keep the rest for
Tips to help keep you and your finances safe:
- Never rush into a financial decision. Always take the extra step to verify the request is legitimate prior to sending any money.
- Never give out personal information over the phone. If your
financial institution is calling you, they already have your
- Report any suspicious phone calls or letters to the police.
- Never pay a fee to collect a winning.
- Say NO!
- Ask for help!
- *REMEMBER, if it sounds too good to be true, it often is.
Please contact Crime Prevention Officer Ashten Hayes at 319-356-5275
or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about how to
avoid being the victim of a scam.