I live in a rural community and it hasn’t been exempt from individuals using creative ways to lighten your wallet. Our most recent example was the “Grandparent” scam. The call came stating a “grandchild” was in a tight situation while visiting another country and couldn’t reach their parent. Could the grandparent wire money immediately? Without a second thought the grandparent wired a significant sum. When the grandparent reached the parents, they learned the child was safe at home.
The August Consumer Advisory issued by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller includes examples of this and other creative scams. A new one for me was the rental scam. Apparently an ad is placed advertising a place to rent at a very low price. The “landlord” isn’t available to show the property. After sending a deposit and first month rent you learn the location doesn’t exist and your money is gone.
When you’ve been scammed, contact the police to report the theft, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov), and contact your states Attorney General’s consumer division. Call and report suspected fraud to the wire transfer company, Western Union: 1-800-448-1492 or Money Gram: 1-800-666-3947. Letting authorities know won’t return your money, but I’m sure more individuals were on guard in our community when the Sheriff issued a warning in the local paper.