Law change could help fraud victims - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Law change could help fraud victims

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Dubuque (KWWL) -- Up to 5,000 Iowans fall victim to individual fraud schemes every year according to the attorney general's office, and right now, those people can't take the case to court to recover losses. Several senior citizens advocacy groups are trying to change that.

Jean Johnson says she's had a lot of people calling and asking for too much information --

"My cards, and my credit cards, and my life insurance, my car, if I have car insurance," Johnson said. "I don't talk to them. I just hang up."

Hanging up is a good idea, but not everyone does.

"People who are looking for easy money realize that senior citizens have been saving all their life for retirement, so probably have some money in the bank. Many have good credit. Most own their homes," Joan Ness with the Agency on Aging said.

The agency helps give seniors information about fraud.

"Monthy, talking about particular scams, we usually hear about five or six of them or so," Ness said.

Two popular through-the-mail scams they're dealing with now: a postcard scam that asks for money to deliver a package, and "the Walmart scam" which claims to offer money for filling out a survey and giving personal information.

Right now, groups like AARP are working with prosecutors, hoping to change a law giving Iowans the right to sue such scammers; a law many seniors would agree with.

"They should get their money back if someone takes it away from them. It's just not fair," Johnson said.

"Sometimes these people are hard to track down and catch though. I don't know how often people will be able to make use of the law, but it still sounds like a good idea," Ness said.

Advocates for the new law say Iowa is the only state without individual fraud protection in court. Committees in both chambers have approved the change, but it might not have time to make it to general assembly.

Online Reporter:  Jamie Grey

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