Stop the Scammers Roadshow Stops in Marshalltown | News, Sports, Jobs

TR PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY — Attorney and investigator Al Perales of the Iowa Department of Insurance and Financial Services gave a lively and compelling presentation to attendees about common scams – and how to prevent them – Wednesday morning at the Conference Center from Marshalltown Community College.

Evil and merciless.

These two words describe today’s “scammers” who prey on Iowans and steal valuable annuities, savings and more.

An Iowa woman lost her $500,000 life savings to an unscrupulous fraudster who left no paper trail, making recovery and prosecution impossible. Another person lost $450,000. Again, no written record.

These and other tragic examples were just one of many key messages conveyed and sponsored Wednesday by the Iowa Department of Insurance and Financial Services (IDIFS), the Iowa Attorney General’s Office (IAG ) and AARP Iowa (formerly American Association of Retired Persons). at the Marshalltown Community College (MCC) Conference Center.

Marshalltown was the 14th community visited as part of an 18-community “Stop the Scammers” fraud educational tour.

TR PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY — A large “Stop the Scammers” poster is on display Wednesday at the Marshalltown Community College Conference Center. The event educated Iowans about scams and how to prevent them. It was co-sponsored by AARP Iowa, the Iowa Attorney General’s Office and the Iowa Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

Anyone can fall victim to a scam, although widows, widowers and people living alone are frequently targeted.

“I’m often asked ‘how do scams work,’” said Al Perales, an investigator and 18-year veteran of IDIFS. “They understand us. They understand human nature.

Perales said people fear being arrested, so scammers often use this threat in a deceptive way to convince the victim to pay money to prevent such an “arrest.” The scammers ask for payments in the form of bitcoin or gift cards, so there is no paper trail.

Home repair scams are common during a damaging weather event, such as a flood or tornado. Scammers posing as contractors or home repair specialists selling home assessments and repairs before disappearing without providing the services they paid for.

It is important to note that Perales and common sense strategies exemplified by the principles of “Learn, Prevent and Protect” can be used to stop fraudsters.

Other fraud prevention tips:

Don’t be a victim of courtesy, you can say no and hang up.

Find out about anyone you don’t recognize. Always contact IDIFS at 877-955-1212 to verify that the financial professional and investment offer are legitimate.

Never judge a person’s integrity by the sound of their voice. Scammers know how to appear professional and friendly to gain trust.

Take your time, take the time you need to research, get advice and learn more about investing.

Be wary of unsolicited offers. Be careful if you can’t find current information about their business. If it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t good or true.

“As scammers’ tactics become more sophisticated, we are working around the clock to protect Iowans and expose the scam,” Iowa Attorney General Brenna Bird said in a press release preceding the event. “Scammers are manipulative and take advantage of ‘Iowa nice’.”

AARP Iowa Brad Anderson also shared an advance statement.

“Fraudsters are more sophisticated than ever in using the internet and other digital tools to take advantage of Iowans,” he said. “Understanding the current tactics used by these fraudsters is the key to avoiding them. »

The lessons on fraud prevention were not lost on some of the approximately 25 participants, many of whom asked thought-provoking questions following the presentations. IDIFS Director Doug Ommen thanked the audience for their attention and questions.

Other communities included in the “Stop the Scammers” event are Ames, Carroll, Cedar Rapids, Coralville, Council Bluffs, Creston, Mason City, Mt. Pleasant, Newton, Ottumwa, Sioux City and Waterloo.

If Iowans suspect a scam, they should contact IAGO at 888-777-4590 or If you would like to schedule a free fraud presentation for your community or group, contact 515-697-1000 or email [email protected].

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