Scammers are everywhere these days, trying to get your personal information online, over the phone or even in person. That’s why AARP and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office have resources to help people recognize scams and know what to do to avoid them.

The top five scams in Iowa involve:

  • Home goods and services
  • Imposters
  • Home improvement
  • Media subscriptions and services
  • Time share sales

The best way to avoid these scams is to be wary. Check and use trusted, legitimate websites to research companies before doing business with them. Read the fine print, shop around for the best deals, get bids in writing, never pay up front and use credit cards, which offer legal recourse in case of fraud.

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office offers these tips to avoid getting scammed.

  • If you don’t recognize the number of a caller, don’t answer.
  • Never give out personal or financial information.
  • Never pay for anything with gift cards.
  • If an offer is good only for today, walk away.
  • Don’t rely on Caller ID or official sounding names. Spoofing Caller ID or making up a name is easy.
  • If you have to pay for something, it’s not a prize.
  • Deal locally, face to face with businesses.
  • Check your bank and credit card statements regularly for indications of fraud.
  • Be wary of salespeople who use fear, excitement or pity to get sales. They’ll manipulate emotions to make sales.
  • Research a business or charity before giving them your money.

For more information on avoiding scams, click here. If you suspect Medicare fraud, click here. To file a complaint with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, call (888) 777-4590 or click here.