Beware: Devious scammers calling - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Beware: Devious scammers calling

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(KWWL) -

Scammers are getting ever more devious. One Cedar Falls Pastor almost became a victim, but she says picking up on the red flags helped her stay alert.

Fredsville Luther Church Pastor Lisa Dietrich says a scammer called the church yesterday looking for her in particular. 

"They had said that they were from the Cedar Falls fire department, and that they were doing a fundraiser," said Pastor Dietrich. "And they were doing a fundraiser for school supplies, which was odd this time of year."

Dietrich says most organizations collect money for school supplies in the beginning of the school year in the fall, not in the middle of the year. That was the first red flag that tipped her off. 

"Then he said well, you must've just missed it in all your mail, I'm sure you're very busy," said Dietrich. "And I almost said, well yeah I'm busy, but then I realized oh those scams that are out there, that want you to say yes, and I stopped myself.

The calls she's talking about imitate professional sales people. They're robotic calls that usually sound something like this, "Hi, this is Josh from the customer service dept. Can you hear me okay?"

When you answer "yes," it is secretly recorded. Later the scammer calls back, demanding payment and using the recording as proof you agreed to pay for goods and services. 

Police are warning to never give out your personal information.

Cedar Falls Police Chief Olson says scammers are getting smart, even using your own area code to call you.

To avoid falling victim, Chief Olson says if you are interested in donating to the organization, you should do your own research. 

"Hang up and you should look up the phone number and call that organization directly."

Chief Olson says fire departments or police associations will occasionally hold fundraisers to raise money for schools.However, at this time the Cedar Falls fire department says they are not fundraising.

To protect yourself the Federal Trade Commission warns to never give out your personal information, and if someone asks "can you hear me," hang up. 

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