Iowans are being warned about pre-recorded calls that promise a free home security system in exchange for putting a sign in your yard. Consumer advocate Jerad Albrecht says the calls don’t appear to be from a real company and are very likely a scam. “These are unsolicited sales calls, they are illegal and from what we can tell, they’re not legitimate in any way,” Albrecht says. “If anyone gets these calls, you’re asked just to hang up.” The calls offer the option of pressing a button to talk to an operator or to be removed from the contact list, but Albrecht says both options are bad choices.
“You don’t really want to do either of those,” he says, “because either action, any key you press during the call, will tell the scammers that your number is active and it could lead to continued scam calls in the future.” The best option, he says, is to just hang up — and not to worry about offending anyone, since it’s just an automated call. Catching the crooks, Albrecht says, is no easy chore.
“Unfortunately, these calls are often made by autodial by computer, often from overseas,” he says. “It’s extremely difficult, certainly at a state level but even from the federal level, to attack it.” If you do decide to talk to an operator, Albrecht warns they’ll eventually get around to needing your personal information, banking information or some sort of downpayment for that “free” security system.