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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

Iowans lose millions in impostor scams

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Wednesday, February 7, 2024   

AARP Iowa is calling on lawmakers to help prevent gift-card scams during this year's legislative session.

Impostor scams have been the number one consumer fraud scam in Iowa for nine years running and commonly seek payment via gift cards.

Paige Yontz, state advocacy manager for AARP Iowa, said impostors play on a victim's fears, usually tied to family members.

"A gift card scams takes place when somebody reaches out and said, 'Hey, your son or daughter is in trouble. They're in jail, perhaps, and the fastest way to get them out is to go buy a gift card and read me the numbers on the back so I can get them out,'" Yontz explained.

While it may sound like common sense not to do so, Yontz pointed out victims often panic and follow the impostor's orders. AARP Iowa is pushing for a measure designed to educate people about gift card scams and encourages consumers to think twice before falling victim. Gift card scams cost Americans close to $150 million in 2023, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

AARP reported one in three people say they know someone who has been the target of a gift card scam, and one in four adults say they are not aware being asked to send money via a gift card is fraudulent. Yontz noted the measure being considered would require retailers to help educate consumers at the point of sale.

"Legislation that would require any retailer who sells a gift card other than their own to post a notice about what a gift card scam is and how to contact the A.G.'s Consumer Protection Division for help," Yontz added.

Companion bills await Iowa House and Senate subcommittee action.

Disclosure: AARP Iowa contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy and Priorities, Community Issues and Volunteering, Consumer Issues, and Health Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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