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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
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State Warns Iowa Flood Victims About Flood-Related Scams
Cedar Rapids flood victims report possible scam attempts

DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowans who have been victimized by flood damage should be on alert for criminals who seek to victimize them again through flood-related scams.

Iowa’s Department of Public Safety and Attorney General's office urge Iowans who sustained flood damage to be wary of flood-related frauds, following two reports of scam attempts in Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids Police Department reports that one scam involves a caller asking evacuees to leave their doors unlocked, and another seeks credit card information to reserve a "free" hotel room for flood victims.

Additionally, the Attorney General's office received a report of a potentially fraudulent flood-related charity solicitation in the Cedar Rapids area.

"If you're a flood victim we know that you have a lot on your mind right now, but it's important to think about protecting yourself from criminals and scammers who may try to take advantage of you," Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Roxann Ryan said. "If you have evacuated your residence, there's no good reason for a stranger to ask you to leave it unsecured," Ryan added. "If you're home and someone asks you to let them in, trust your instincts and don't be shy about asking for identification--call your local police department or sheriff's office if you have any doubts."

Flood victims should also be wary of phone scams.

"There is a long list of potential flood-related phone scams, from someone seeking payment over the phone for cleanup-related goods or services, or scammers claiming they're collecting some sort of fee on behalf of the government," Attorney General Tom Miller said. "Don't pay over the phone or give out personal financial information based on one call from someone you don't know personally, and don't trust information that appears on caller-ID displays."

Iowans in flooded areas should be vigilant when approached by anyone seeking business door-to-door, and anyone seeking advance payment for goods or services—either in person or by phone.

For suspected criminal activity or threats to public safety or property, call police or the sheriff's office. For general consumer protection questions and complaints, contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division:

Web:     www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov
Phone:  515-281-5926 (toll-free number outside of the Des Moines area: 888-777-4590)
Email:    consumer@iowa.gov

 

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