Nice weather means it’s the time for scams


May 7th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Warmer weather brings chirping birds, leaves to the trees, and in Council Bluffs, the scammers come out of hibernation. According to the Omaha World Herald, at least two separate scams have drawn the attention of local law officers over the past week.

Pottawattamie County Treasurer Judy Miller said she has received complaints from citizens about telephone calls demanding more property tax money. Miller said the callers identify themselves as working in the Treasurer’s Office and demand more money. She says at least two complaints have been received about the high pressure tactics.

In one instance, a male caller asks the victim to send the extra payment to a post office box. Miller said there are no male employees in her office, and the employees she has would always properly identify themselves over the telephone. They would also never ask for money to be sent to a post office box.

In a separate incident, a Council Bluffs man reported to police that he received a prize alert that purported to be from Reader’s Digest. Capt. Terry LeMaster said the man, who did not wish to be identified, received a notice claiming he had won $500 in a Reader’s Digest sweepstakes.

The letter also contained a check for $2,900 and asked that the man call a telephone number to receive instructions on getting his $500. LeMaster said the scam likely entailed cashing the check for $2,900, keeping $500 and wiring the remainder back to the “company.”

However, at some point the check would have been found to be a forgery and the victim required to refund the bank’s money that had already been wired. Luckily, the man emailed Reader’s Digest before acting on the letter, and the company told him it was a forgery, therefore, there was no victim.

Even so, LeMaster cautioned the public to be aware of those types of scams.