Iowa Judicial Branch Warns of a Collection Notice Scam
The Iowa Judicial Branch issued a warning in response to recent phone calls they have received about threatening collection notices.
On December 14, 2020, clerks from the Iowa Judicial Branch stated that these collection notices, which claim to be issued by an Iowa clerk or the Iowa Judicial Branch, are false scams to get you to pay money you do not owe.
Fake Iowa Collection Notices
Not only do these fake collection notices falsely claim to be from your local government, but they also make threats to those who receive them. Individuals are warned that if they do not call the 1-800 number provided, they can expect:
- Their driver’s license to be suspended
- An arrest warrant to be issued
It is important to note that these are common threats scammers make to intimidate a victim into giving up his or her money. While anyone may be a target, often scammers may seek those who are most vulnerable and more easily frightened, such as an elderly person or a resident in a nursing home.
How Can You Tell if a Notice is Fake?
For this particular notice, you can go directly to the Iowa Judicial Branch website and contact your county clerk. Additionally, it is worth mentioning that the 1-800 number on these notices is also fake and that the Iowa Judicial Branch does not have any 1-800 numbers for you to call to make payments on court fines or fees.
Who is Being Targeted?
While anyone may become the victim of a scammer, this particular threat currently seems to be targeting Iowans who have moved out of state. That said, you should continue to be alert that scammers are out there and will continue to try to find ways to steal your money.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
You can do your best to stay informed through local and national news reports. However, there are also some common red flags to look for, as seen in these tips from the AARP and Consumer.ftc.gov:
- Typically, when a scammer is calling you to say you owe money, it is not a debt that you know anything about, so that should be a major red flag.
- The so-called debt collector refuses to give you certain information about the debt and the creditor which, by law, they are required to provide.
- The scammer pressures you to pay the debt immediately and often by a money transfer or prepaid card – these methods make it easier for a scammer to get away with your money, because they are harder to trace.
- The scammer tells you that you may be put in jail.
- A scammer may even try to pose as a government official.
As for providing any sensitive financial or personal data, never give this information to a caller over the phone or by email. When unsure, call your bank or credit card company directly, report the incident and check on your account status.
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