Dubuque Police warn about recent scams - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque Police warn about recent scams

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Scammers try to trick you into doing something that usually sounds too good to be true, but take a look at a few recent scams and its easy to see why so many people fall victim.

In fact, looking at four checks on Lt. Scott Baxter's desk, they look real.

"Well maybe this is legitimate," Baxter said.

Look a little closer and it's easy to see that they are fake. Still, Baxter says several people have fallen for this scam.

"Some of these, you know your check may look perfect, but you start looking at the letters that accompany it and it's obvious," Baxter said.

It's just one of the many scams people are falling for this summer. Bad checks aren't the only ways people are getting scammed, Baxter says several people are getting e-mails from the FBI. The e-mail asks for important information, money and fees for a number of reasons.

"Scammers want you to make a rash decision. They get their money they disappears," Baxter said.

Another scam some are falling for: door to door solicitors asking to resurface your driveway.

They'll do the work, but once you pay you get scammed.

"He leaves with a check, comes back later on. Claims he lost the check, asked her to reissue a check. Only to find out later that both checks had been cashed," Baxter said.

Perhaps most commonly, people are becoming victims of callers. Each call is different, but most are claiming you have won sweepstakes and in order to get the money you must pay a fee.

"The bottom-line, someone is trying to get money out of you. The person who receives that call needs to make a couple follow up calls and try and verify the validity of the claim.," Baxter said.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Dubuque isn't alone. The Tama County Sheriff's Department is warning of a phone scam they're investigating. They say someone is calling saying they're from the Federal Trade Commission. This is followed by another phone call from someone pretending to be from the Lloyds of London, insuring prize money. Finally, a third call comes from the Las Vegas Dream Foundation.

The Sheriff's department says this is a scam.

If you or someone you know has received a call or calls similar to this, or think you may be a victim to any type of scam, call your local police department.

The National Fraud information center is another resource you can turn to. They have some tips for reporting a scam:

Be sure to have the name of the seller or company that contacted you. You don't have to have lose money. You can report a suspected scam. But if you did send money, be sure to include how much you paid and how you sent your payment.

Of course you'll want to have a detailed step-by-step explanation of what happened including as many other details as possible for police to follow up on.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

Follow Lauren on Twitter.


The Dubuque Police Department would like to warn area residents of new scam attempts happening locally. The first involves a fraudulent e-mail message appearing to be from the FBI. If you receive or have received an e-mail from Robert Mueller, the FBI Director or any another FBI official, it is a scam and you should report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center <http://www.ic3.gov/> (www.ic3.gov <http://www.ic3.gov>). The scammer hopes the recipient will think it is legitimate, and subsequently provide personal information or money for "fees" for a number of possible reasons - all of which are fraudulent. Be advised that the FBI does not send e-mails to people; they always talk to people on the phone or in-person. They will not ask personal information type questions (if they are the FBI, they will already know the information). These scam e-mails have an official appearance due to scammers utilizing pictures of the FBI Director, seal, letterhead and banners. These e-mails also appear to come from domestic and overseas FBI offices. To get more information on this or other cyber scams go to the official FBI website (www.fbi.gov <http://www.fbi.gov>) and visit the page "New E-scams & Warnings".

In a second recent scam attempt, the scammer approaches a home owner (often an elderly person) and offers to seal or resurface their driveway (or provide some other form of service - usually related to home improvement/maintenance). Shortly after receiving payment in the form of a check, the scammer returns to the victim and claims to have lost the check. The scammer asks the victim to re-issue another check and will then cash both the "lost" check and the new one. Residents should use extreme caution when "hiring" individuals who solicit them for work (home improvement or otherwise). Prior to hiring anyone, residents should thoroughly check references and insure the person is local, reputable and insured.

Lastly, there are still ongoing and recent attempts by scammers to solicit funds from victims by claiming they won a lottery/sweepstakes or are otherwise entitled to a large sum of money for any number of reasons. These scams usually involve the victim paying a fee to process the claim, pay taxes, etc. and/or will request personal information. These scams come in the form of e-mail, letter or phone call.

As always, never send money or provide any personal information unless you are absolutely sure the request is legitimate. A little research (usually in the form of a quick phone call or two) can save you a lot of money and almost always prevent you from being scammed.

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