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WC Police, Crimestoppers warn of scams

Holiday season is prime time for scammers

The Webster City Police Department and Hamilton County Crimestoppers issued a reminder to area residents that not everyone is out to make your holidays joyful. Lately there have been many reports of scams throughout the country and Webster City residents have not been exempt from them, according to Webster City Police Chief Shiloh Mork.

Examples of scams are:

• Someone calling to report a family member, usually a grandchild, in jail and the need for bond money. If you receive such a call, you should verify the identity and location of the person, claiming to be in trouble. You could ask a question that only that person would know the answer to. You should hang up and call another family member who can confirm your grandchild’s whereabouts. Try calling your grandchild at the telephone number through which you normally reach him or her. Stay calm and avoid acting out of a sense of urgency. Do not wire money or send gift cards unless you have verified with an independent third party that your grandchild is truly in trouble.

• Other examples are lottery schemes, such as winning large sums of money from Publisher’s Clearing House, and even callers purporting to be law enforcement officers asking for money are plaguing the community. Never give out any personal identifying information such as bank account or credit card numbers to anyone who calls you on the phone. As in the Grandparent’s scam, con artists will lie, cheat, steal, and make up plausible stories to convince you to wire money or divulge sensitive information. The callers are often professional criminals who are skillfully able to get you to wire money or give personal information before you have time to properly assess the situation. Take the time to research what you are being told before you give any personal information or money to someone on the phone.The best rule of thumb is if it sounds suspicious or too good to be true, don’t do it.

Contact your local law enforcement agency with anything suspicious. Information can also be submitted by using the Hamilton County Crimestoppers program. There are four easy ways to report a crime or suspicious activity while remaining completely anonymous.

1. Call the tip line at 800-873-TIPS (8477).  These phone lines have no recording device.

2. Fill out an online form by going to the Crimestoppers site at www.hcstopcrime.com

3. Text C-R-I-M-E-S (274637) then type keyword “IA40” before you type your message.

4. Call the local tip line at 515-832-8437.  These phone lines have no recording device. 

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