The Iowa Attorney General’s office is launching a series of consumer protection presentations today that will visit a dozen Iowa cities over the next month.
Al Perales, an investigator in the AG’s office, says he’ll be prepared to hear consumer complaints after he outlines some of the most popular scams, like when you get a message from a supposed Facebook friend.
“They tell you that they’ve been approved for a grant and you’ve been approved, too,” Perales says. “The scam is so good because you believe that it’s coming from someone that you trust, someone that you know, and of course they didn’t get a grant. They tell you that you’ve been approved and start the process of trying to scam you.”
In another popular scam, Perales says you might get a text, email or robocall from someone claiming to be with Amazon, confirming you’ve been sent a high-dollar item. “It’s telling me that it’s been shipped to Arizona and it even gives you the address,” Perales says. “And of course, I have a customer service number: ‘If this is not you, or if there’s a problem, call this number.’ When you call that number, it feels like Amazon. It sounds like Amazon. They’re very kind. They want to take care of the problem, but it’s nothing but a scheme to defraud you of your money.”
Elderly Iowans are sometimes targeted in a late-night phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild who needs bail money, but Perales says Iowans in their teens, 20s and 30s are falling victim to con artists, too.
“The younger generation is getting hit on Facebook or on Twitter,” Perales says. “The scammer will put something up, whether it’s a job opportunity or something for sale, and there’ll be a link to get more information. You press on that link and guess what? You open yourself up to get scammed.”
Perales will start the tour today in Independence. Other cities on the list include: Eldora, Monticello, Dyersville, Lake View, Grinnell, Creston, Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Atlantic and Tama. For a full schedule, visit: