United Group Insurance

Iowans are warned of more coronavirus-related phone scams


March 26th, 2020 by Ric Hanson

(Radio Iowa) — A natural disaster like a tornado often brings out crooks promising to do home repairs on the cheap who promptly vanish with the downpayment. Coronavirus is no different. Pella’s interim police chief, Lieutenant Paul Haase, says they’ve taken multiple calls from people reporting scams and phishing attempts that all relate back to the pandemic.

“There has been reports of door-to-door testing and people offering to come to your door and test you for COVID-19 for a small fee,” Haase says. “A lot of these are just designed to get people to give out banking information, personal information.” Haase says the scammers can be very persistent.

“The people are very good at what they do. They’re manipulative. They’ll trick people,” Haase says. “Don’t send them any money. Call the police department and say, ‘Hey, can you walk me through this situation?'” A familiar scam involves a phone call from someone claiming to be a grandchild who’s in trouble and needs money in a hurry. Haase says it’s difficult to catch someone pulling that type of telephone scam and it’s almost impossible to get money back once you’ve sent it.

Haase says, “They prey on people that want to look out for their loved ones and will fool them into sending that money in by pressuring them to do it right now, before they have a chance to think about it.” The bottom line is to avoid anyone who asks for money, Haase says, and don’t give money to someone you haven’t contacted first.

Report suspected fraud by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721.