DES MOINES, Iowa – U.S. Congresswoman Cindy Axne and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller are partnering for the first time to educate Iowans about protecting themselves from fraud.
‘SCAMWATCH: Protecting Vulnerable Iowans From Fraudsters’ focuses on providing different ways to prevent yourself from becoming a victim to a scam. The event focuses on veterans and seniors.
According to the Iowa Attorney General’s office, last year complaints for imposter scams doubled.
An imposter scam is when a scammer impersonates someone either over the phone, online or through email and tries to get personal information using an urgent problem.
Deputy Iowa Attorney General Nathan Blake said, “Take a moment to think about opportunities when they are presented to you, and just think is this a scam. To think twice, and do a little bit of research before they jump in to any sort of business opportunity that’s kind of handed to them.”
Blake said anyone can fall victim to an imposter scam, but they are most popular among seniors and veterans.
A red flag it might be a scam can be someone asking for your information like a Social Security number over the phone. Also when people ask to wire money to an off shore account or make payments through gift cards.
This past February, Representative Cindy Axne sponsored a bill that passed in the U.S. House to help crack down on criminals who try to steal money from veterans. It is called ‘Preventing Crimes Against Veteran’s Act.’ It is now in the U.S. Senate waiting for approval.
“Some entities who charge a lot of money to veterans to get veterans' benefits. Well, that is illegal under federal law. Representative Axne, helped sponsor, pass some legislation at the federal level that made it clearer that you can’t do that,” Blake said.
Blake said it is also illegal at the state level here in Iowa.
Other topics at the forum include: dealing with telemarketers, credit card fraud, phishing scams and elder abuse.
The forum begins Thursday at 1:00 p.m. It is located at Northwest Community Center at 5110 Franklin Avenue, Des Moines.
The forum is free and open to the public.