There have been no reports of looting in Iowa, but authorities have arrested two men who were trying to enter restricted areas in Cedar Rapids and Des Moines by posing as National Guard soldiers.
Iowa Public Safety Commissioner Gene Meyer says flood victims should be wary of scammers."You know there are numerous types of scams. They include home repair scams involving substandard or incomplete work such as debris removal, sale of unneeded disaster recovery kits, water testing and treatment, advanced fee loans and mortgages. Scam artists will travel many, many miles to victimize people who can least afford it," Meyer says. "Essentially they come in, they take the money, and they run."
In some disasters, impostors have been caught trying to get storm victims to pay cash on the spot to hook up the power, phone or water. "Please keep in mind that a utility worker working for a legitimate company will not ask for a payment to disconnect or reconnect power in any flood-related area…Look for the official utility insignia on the vehicles and the uniforms of the people who may come to your home. Insist that those workers present an identification badge," Meyer says. "…If you have questions, certainly call the utility they represent and check on that situation and report suspicious persons or activities to your local law enforcement agency."
Meyer’s advice is to "never, ever" pay for a service in advance. "When con artists try to cheat disaster victims, it is the definition of adding insult to injury," Meyer says.
Meyer encourages Iowans to keep an eye out for their elderly neighbors who may be badgered by scam artists.