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Iowans Lose Thousands in Phone Scam
DES MOINES, Iowa (KCCI-TV) Authorities said Thursday that scam artists posing as Polk County law enforcement or court officials are persuading innocent victims to send them thousands of dollars.
"Sometimes they go so far as sounding like family members," said Polk County spokesman Lt. Brent Long.
"They prey on our elderly. You ask why they did it? They say, 'I believe them, they were nice to me. I trusted them,'" said Polk County Sheriff Bill McCarthy.
A person in Polk County sent $8,000 and another $17,000 to a calls who claimed to be a loved one in jail needing bail money. County Attorney John Sarcone said even he was contacted.
"Saying he was in jail and could I send him something right away. It happens to everybody," said Sarcone.
Authorities said callers typically ask you to go to a store and buy a prepaid Green Dot Visa or MasterCard. When you give them the numbers on it, they can pull the cash off the card fast.
Authorities said other scams involve the court system. The caller said you owe a fine for not showing up for jury duty or a criminal charge will go away if you pay up.
"We do not call them up and say that, that's not how things operate," said Sarcone.