DES MOINES, Iowa -- We have all gotten those strange phone calls from someone saying they are from the government, or calls saying you won a cruise, then they asking for money. These are called imposter scams and are becoming more and more frequent.
The Iowa Attorney General’s Office said the number of imposter scams doubled from 2017 to 2018 and it doesn’t look like they're slowing down any time soon.
“We have found that there have been reports that in the next few years almost 40 to 50 percent of calls that you receive at home will be a scam call,” Iowa Attorney General’s Office Investigator Al Perales said.
But it doesn’t have to just be a phone call, scams come in all shapes and sizes. It can be a knock on the door, a text, an email and in each instance, the scammer will create a very strong and very urgent situation.
“If you’re ever confronted with a situation where there is fear, there is excitement or a situation that is pulling at your heartstrings and they are asking for money right now, it’s definitely a scam,” Perales said.
He said we are seeing an influx in scams of all forms because of technology. Social media and the internet mean people are more available and more accessible. And as people begin to recognize and avoid scams, scammers are staying one step ahead, finding ways around roadblocks like caller I.D. These days, caller I.D. is not valid, so you do not have to answer a call just because it has your same area code. In this instance, it’s okay to not be "Iowa nice."
“If you do not recognize the call, I always tell people, if it’s not your brother Bobby, if it’s not your sister Suzie if it’s not Dr. Anderson’s office don’t answer the call, just don’t answer it. And if you accidentally answer it just hang up, I’m not interested and hang up, because many times, more often than not, it’s going to be a scam call,” Perales said.
If you do end up falling victim to a scam and sending someone money, it is important to act quickly so you can get that money back. Call your bank and credit card company and call the Iowa Attorney General’s Office at 888-777-4590 or their office number at 515-281-5926.
Click here for more tips on how to protect yourself from scammers.