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We have been receiving calls recently about various telephone and Internet crimes. If you, or someone you know, has fallen victim to a scammer, contact your local police department to report the crime. In Marshalltown call 641.754.5725.
Here are some of the more common scams:
IRS and Tax scams - Scammers will call you, send you emails or messages trying to trick you into thinking you are receiving legitimate communication from the IRS or others in the tax industry. You need to know the IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media to request your personal or financial information. If you get a message asking for PIN numbers, passwords, access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts, DO NOT respond, DO NOT open any attachments and DO NOT click on any links. Instead forward the message to firstname.lastname@example.org and then delete the original email.
Sweepstakes and lottery scams - Fraudulent telemarketers will call, claiming you won a sweepstakes, lottery or a vacation. If they ask you to pay any fees at all to claim your prize, this is a scam. Hang up and DO NOT PROVIDE ANY PERSONAL OR FINANCIAL INFORMATION TO THE CALLER.
Sweetheart scams - Scammers will create fake profiles on dating websites, "woo" you and then try to convince you to send them money in the name of love. Any online love interest who asks for money is probably a scam artist. DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY FINANCIAL INFORMATION.
Tech support scams - If you get a call from a well-known tech company, such as Microsoft, claiming there is a problem with your computer, hang up. DO NOT GIVEN THEM ACCESS TO YOUR COMPUTER OR PASSWORDS. If you give them access to your computer, they can install malicious software (malware) that can steal your financial information.
Grandparent scams - Scammers will call you, pretend they are your grandchild and tell you they are stranded or in jail somewhere and need money wired to them. If they try to claim they are your grandchild, MAKE SURE THEY IDENTIFY THEMSELVES BY NAME AND THEN VERIFY WITH OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS WHERE YOUR GRANDCHILD IS LOCATED BEFORE SENDING MONEY BASED ON A PHONE CALL.
Jury Duty / Arrest Warrant scams - Callers will tell you that you failed to appear for jury duty and there has been a warrant issued for your arrest. They will go on to say the warrant will be recalled if you just pay a fine. Neither the courts nor law enforcement will call you demanding money to take care of a warrant. This is a scam. DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY FINANCIAL INFORMATION. If you have any question whether the caller is legitimate, hang up, look up the number for the Clerk of Court or the law enforcement agency who supposedly issued the warrant and call them.
Be safe everyone.