Almost every day the Oelwein Police Department receives complaints about different scams. There are so many different types of scams, it is hard to inform everyone about every type of scam. Never give out your personal information over the phone, including your social security number, bank numbers, debit/credit card numbers, etc. The best thing to do if someone calls you and it sounds like a scam is to hang up. If you fall victim to a scam, contact your local law enforcement agency and they may be able to assist you.
Recent scams reported to the Oelwein Police Department include:
- Alliant Energy Scam (Claiming they are Alliant Energy and you owe them money or they will turn off your electricity. They may advise you they have a technician on there way to your place so they need the money right away.)
- IRS/Federal Government Scam (Claiming they are the "IRS" and you owe them money and state they are sending law enforcement to your house right away or that they will sue you.)
- Publishers Clearing House Scam (Claiming you have won money, but you need to send them money. If anyone contacts you claiming you have won a prize, but request you to send them money by Western Union, Credit Card, Gift Card, etc., it is a scam.)
- Washington DC Treasury/Grant Scam (Claiming you have been rewarded a grant and request your bank information)
- Electrical Inspector Scam (Claiming the owner of the business wants a quote for a project. Unsure what they request after that as reporting party advised they were the owner and scammer hung up.)
- Owner of the Company Email Scam (Email from the "President" of a company needing an employee to wire money to them.)
- Oelwein Pharmacy Scam (Claiming they have a prescription ready to mail out and request your debit/credit card number)
- Computer Techs/Microsoft Scam (Claiming there is something wrong with your computer and they can fix it for a fee)
- Grandma/Grandpa Scam (Claiming they are your grandson on vacation and need money to get out of jail or out of trouble)
- Possible Scam: FREE Alarm System at your home (We are not sure if this is a scam or not, but if people say "It's Free", most likely it's a scam. They claim to put a free alarm system at your home and all you have to do is put a sign in your front yard to advertise for them)
- Letters and Checks in the Mail (Any type of mail/checks that state you are a "Prize Winner" are most likely a scam)
Below is some information from the Federal Trade Commission.
Every year, thousands of people lose money to telephone scams — from a few dollars to their life savings. Scammers will say anything to cheat people out of money. Some seem very friendly — calling you by your first name, making small talk, and asking about your family. They may claim to work for a company you trust, or they may send mail or place ads to convince you to call them.
If you get a call from someone you don’t know who is trying to sell you something you hadn’t planned to buy, say "No thanks." And, if they pressure you about giving up personal information — like your credit card or Social Security number — it’s likely a scam. Hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
Often, scammers who operate by phone don’t want to give you time to think about their pitch; they just want you to say "yes." But some are so cunning that, even if you ask for more information, they seem happy to comply. They may direct you to a website or otherwise send information featuring “satisfied customers.” These customers, known as shills, are likely as fake as their praise for the company.
Here are a few red flags to help you spot telemarketing scams. If you hear a line that sounds like this, say "no, thank you," hang up, and file a complaint with the FTC:
Join the National Do Not Call List
Register your home and mobile phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry. This won’t stop all unsolicited calls, but it will stop most.
If your number is on the registry and you still get calls, they’re probably from scammers ignoring the law. Hang up, and report them at www.donotcall.gov.
Scammers use exaggerated — or even fake — prizes, products or services as bait. Some may call you, but others will use mail, texts, or ads to get you to call them for more details. Here are a few examples of “offers” you might get:
Everyone's a potential target. Fraud isn't limited to race, ethnic background, gender, age, education, or income. That said, some scams seem to concentrate in certain groups. For example, older people may be targeted because the caller assumes they may live alone, have a nest egg, or may be more polite toward strangers. Click here for fruad tips for senior citizens.
Questions to Ask
When you get a call from a telemarketer, ask yourself:
Some Additional Guidelines
If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it's a robocall. Recorded messages that are trying to sell you something are generally illegal unless you have given the company written permission to call you.
If you get a robocall:
If you get phone service through internet or cable, you might want to look into services that screen and block robocalls. Try doing an online search for “block robocalls.”
The Oelwein Police Department was established in 1903
Currently the Oelwein Police Department employs:
4 Reserve (Volunteer) Police Officers
The Oelwein Police Department is located at 501 Rock Island Road, Oelwein, Iowa 50662.