Although most activities encountered by the police can and do occur year round, once the weather turns warm the Police Dept. typically sees an increase in some activities. One of these activities is car burglaries. The Police Dept. encourages citizens to lock their car doors, roll windows up and avoid storing valuables inside the vehicle. If you decide to store valuables in your car keep them out of sight. Typically, thieves target vehicles they can get in and out of quickly and contain items of interest (cash, purses, electronics, etc.). Also, do not leave any important documents containing sensitive personal information such as your social security number in your car. A thief could use your personal information to make you a victim of identity theft.
Another activity that increases in the summer is the frequency of door-to-door solicitors. City ordinance requires any person engaging in door-to-door solicitation for profit to obtain a permit from City Hall. The solicitor is required to carry the permit with them at all times they are soliciting and present it upon request.
Unfortunately a number of door-to-door solicitors are engaged in fraudulent activity. Typically these are individuals from out of town and often out of state. The types of business range from magazine sales, cleaning solvents, and home repair among others. Some warnings signs of fraud related to these enterprises are:
The salesperson/repair person is driving or riding in an unmarked truck or van.
The worker has not business identification, local address or telephone number.
You are offered a “special price” if you sign today.
The worker wants upfront cost or fees or only accepts cash.
No written estimates or contracts are provided.
The worker does not have any references.
The offer “sounds too good to be true.”
The vehicles have out of state license plates.
The worker cannot provide any contractor’s license, permit, insurance, or bonding information (construction/home repair.)
The lack of a City issued permit is another indicator of someone who may be engaged in fraud. A legitimate business may inadvertently fail to obtain the permit, however, those engaged in fraud will never apply for a permit because they do not want anyone to know who they really are once they have committed their scam.
There are countless scams perpetrated everyday whether by phone, mail, email or other means. The following websites offer information related to various types of fraud and a vehicle to report these scams.
www.ic3.gov –Internet Crime Complaint Center
www.ftc.gov –Federal Trade Commission
http://www.state.ia.us/government/ag/index.html –Iowa Attorney General
www.bbb.org –Better Business Bureau
https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-fraud-schemes –FBI listing of common fraud schemes
List of fraud schemes compiled by the US Postal Inspection Service
www.lookstogoodtobetrue.com –a website developed and maintained by law enforcement and private industry