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Too Good To Be True? Check It Out!

August 9, 2016
by Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

If something sounds too good to be true -- it usually is. In other words, check it out.

If the news is startling and requires immediate action -- don't be hasty. Check it out.

We have all received phone calls, e-mails and text messages offering something that's just too good to be true. Or, the message could be so startling that we make a decision without checking the facts. Chances are -- it's a scam.

I came across a survey the other day that spelled out the top five telephone scams:

IRS scams (33%)

Credit/Loan scams (31%)

Lottery/Sweepstake scams (27%)

Banking scams (22%)

Automated message scams (16%)

These are the top five where victims have been scammed the most, according to the YouGov survey, commissioned by call blocking specialists CPR?Call Blocker.

Locally, scams are reported to law enforcement on a regular basis. Getting the word out is key.

Older folks (like me) are favorite targets.

Just last week, I received a text message from my grandson. Why was that suspicious??He was at camp -- without his phone. The text was not asking for anything specific, just a response. Wait a minute! Do I want to acknowledge someone I know is not my grandson? Do I want a virus on my phone? That would be a big, fat no. Message deleted.

The YouGov survey reports that nine out of ten Americans receive unwanted calls each month. Eleven-percent of US?adults have been a victim of a telephone scam. Of those who have been scammed, 20-percent said they had lost between $500 and $10,000 as a result.

MidAmerican Energy Company has launched "Slam the Scam" awareness campaign to prevent customers from falling victim to energy scams.

MidAmerican says they receive approximately 100 reported scams each month, and this year, customers have reported losing nearly $9,000 dollars to scammers.

Here is their advice: If customers receive a call that sounds like a scam, or if someone suspicious shows up at their business or residence, they should Slam the Scam by hanging up or shutting the door and calling MidAmerican Energy at 888-427-5632 and their local police.

Hang up if the caller insists on immediate payment using a prepaid debit card or Green Dot card.

Ask to see identification from anyone who shows up at your door. MidAmerican Energy employees carry an employee ID badge at all times.

Don't trust the name and number on your caller ID. Use the number published on MidAmerican Energy's website or in the phone book: 888-427-5632.

Help spread the word: educate your family, friends and neighbors on what to do if they are faced with a scammer. Every business will agree with that bit of advice. Be cautious, ask questions and don't fall prey to a scammer.



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