Iowa Fraud Watch Tour to Address 'Scam Culture'
Monday, August 29, 2022
A statewide tour to help Iowans sharpen their fraud protection skills kicks off today. Organizers say perpetrators will never give up in trying to steal people's hard-earned money.
The Fraud Watch tour is being led by AARP and will feature voices from the state's law enforcement community.
Al Perales - an investigator with the Iowa Attorney General's Office Consumer Protection Division - said while scams have always been around, today's society has been forced to become hyper-vigilant about scams, especially as technology evolves.
"We currently live in a scam culture," said Perales. "And all that technology has been good. Unfortunately, it's been good for the scammers because it makes it easier for them to contact us, to connect with us, to make things feel real."
He pointed to the Amazon delivery scam, where a person is sent a message that they're being shipped an item they never ordered. Naturally, the person calls the number provided and the scammer tries to obtain personal information.
Today's kick-off event in Des Moines is already at capacity, but other fall dates are listed on AARP Iowa's website.
Neil Shultz, a retired chief with the Polk County Sheriff's Office, is part of the AARP Fraud Watch team. He said the presentations will include warning signs.
Even though many scams today involve technology, there are still people trying to commit fraud in person, including after a damaging storm.
"Somebody walks up and knocks on your door and offers to fix your roof or fix your damage, and they could do it right now," said Shultz. "Just be really leery of those kinds of people. Do your homework - research, research, research."
Perales said while scammers still focus on older residents, others can still be targets.
"From high school students to college students," said Perales, "to early adulthood to married couples."
Fraud activity, he said, does not discriminate when it comes to age.
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