Northwest Iowa — Tis the season to be jolly, but it’s also the season when many scammers try to relieve you of your hard-earned money.
A Facebook post earlier this week told the story of a local elderly couple who dropped off a package at a Sheldon business late one afternoon to ship FedEx to Michigan. Later that evening the owner of the business received a call from the Sheldon police asking him if the package had been picked up by FedEx. According to the post, police revealed to the business owner that the couple who dropped off the package were the victims of a scam.
The business owner says the elderly couple had reportedly been contacted by someone claiming to be their grandson, saying he needed bail money. The couple were instructed to ship $8-thousand in cash to be shipped overnight. Forunately, the couple learned their grandson wasn’t in jail, and that the whole thing was a scam. Even more fortunately, the FedEx package containing the $8-thousand in cash had not left the Sheldon business by the time the scam was uncovered.
This is just one type of scam that has been tried in the area in the past few months, and officials say the frequency of the scams increases during the holiday season.
In one of the newer scams, federal marshals say con artists will claim you have missed jury duty or broken some other law. Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal William Iverson says scammers will go the extra mile to make you believe it’s a legitimate call, going so far as to give badge numbers and the names of real federal judges.
He says they’d also never ask for bank routing numbers in order to wire money or to purchase a gift card. Iverson says if you receive a call that you think is suspicious, take a second to think about it. He says if it doesn’t seem legitimate it probably isn’t.
Iverson says if you get such a call, just hang up.