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Iowa Scams

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Think you've been scammed? What does it take for you to get your money back? There are resources that can help.

"I had found a flyer on the local store bulletin board. This company advertising home repairs. It was one of those tab flyers," says an unidentified scam victim. The woman, we'll call Linda, says she fell victim to a dishonest home repair contractor. After writing a check and paying for the work, she says the work went undone. She says after initially contacting him in august, she got the run-around for months.

"When I tried to be nice, weather is getting bad and I'm having trouble heating my house. Are you guys going to come over? He gave me attitude. He told me he didn't want to deal with me anymore and that my check would be in the mail in the next couple of days and then I didn't hear any more from him," said "Linda."

"Linda" contacted the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General's office to get her money back.

"The first thing we do is ask people to contact us. File a complaint in writing. We mail it out to the complained against party to see if there's some common ground. Perhaps we can help the parties resolve the matter," said Bill Brauch of the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General's office.

The Consumer Protection Division has the legal authority to go after scam artists. They say get everything in writing and keep your paperwork..and don't do business with anyone who won't put it in writing.

"We recover more than $1 million for consumers each year. We strongly encourage them to file complaints with us and it doesn't cost anything," said Brauch.

Brauch's office keeps seeing scams related to home repair, storm repair, and mortgages.

"We continue to see problems with mortgage rescue companies. Contact people who are near foreclosure offering them to help them out for a fee. It's illegal in Iowa to ask for a fee in advance to providing services for mortgage rescue," said Brauch.

As for "Linda," she took pictures, kept good records, even text messages, and eventually got her money back.

The Better Business Bureau was also instrumental in this case. They act as a mediator to try and come to a decision both the consumer and the business will agree upon.

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