MASON CITY — Iowa’s Attorney General was one of the keynote speakers at the Seniors and Law Enforcement Together Fall Forum in Mason City this morning.
Brenna Bird tells KGLO News that scams are an ever-growing danger not only for seniors but the public in general. She says the best way not to get caught up in a phone scam is by not answering the phone if you don’t recognize the number that comes up on your Caller ID. “Let the person leave a message, and if they claim to be with your local bank or something like that, look up the phone number yourself, don’t use the one that they left on the message, and talk to real people that you usually work with. When in doubt, do business in person, and don’t be afraid to reach out to your local law enforcement to ask them if you think something might not be real. They have a good sense for that and they can really help you out.”
Bird says never give out your personal information to someone over the phone. “Never give out personal information, never send cash or gift cards or other types of payment through the mail. That’s a big danger sign.”
Bird says seniors are typically a target of scammers. “It seems that the scammers like to prey on seniors, and that really makes me mad, because the reason they are doing it is because, where I come from, there aren’t people who wish us harm in our community for the most part, so we’re trusting people. When people answer the phone and somebody says there’s something, we tend to believe them. It really makes me mad because they are taking advantage of the good in people to do evil to them and to rip them off. We just want people to be vigilant and armed with information so that seniors and other Iowans can fight back.”
Bird says be aware that scams can come in all different forms, not just by a phone call. “Scams can come by a knock on the door in person. They can come through a phone call, an email, a text message. Just be vigilant, do business locally, do it in person. When in doubt, reach out to law enforcement. Even if they are impersonating law enforcement, you call back the regular police number and you talk to a real police officer in your local community. They will help you, they won’t steer you wrong.”
Bird is in her first year of her first term as Iowa’s Attorney General.