Capital Clicks

New phone scam impersonates Iowa auditor of state

By: - December 5, 2022 3:01 pm

Iowa's state auditor is warning about a scam call an Iowan received from someone impersonating the auditor's office. (Photo by Getty Images)

Iowans should beware of a new phone scam impersonating the Iowa auditor of state’s office, Auditor Rob Sand warned Monday.

An Iowan told the auditor’s office Nov. 30 that they had received a call from a person identifying themselves as a representative of the Auditor of State’s office, who asked them questions about their mortgage. The caller said they knew the Iowan’s name, address and height.

Sand issued an advisory Monday warning that these calls are not from the auditor’s office, and that Iowans should not act on these callers’ requests for money or information.

“The Auditor of State Office will never call you to inquire about your mortgage or personal finances,” State Auditor Rob Sand said in a news release. “We have alerted the Iowa Attorney General, Consumer Protection Division.”

Phone scams dropped in 2020 at the start of the pandemic but have steadily risen again in the past two years, according to AARP. While much of that spam consists of robocalls, some are live callers attempting fraud by impersonating government agencies and family members.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller filed enforcement actions with the Anti-Robocall Litigation Task Force in November against two voice service providers over alleged involvement in illegal robocalls, according to a news release. People who believe they have received a scam phone call can contact the office’s Consumer Protection Division with details.

The Attorney General’s Office and Federal Trade Commission offer several tips for avoiding scams:

  • Look out for prerecorded calls from imposters posing as government agencies. Typically, the Social Security Administration does not make phone calls to individuals.
  • Scammers will pressure the person to send money immediately, and often in a specific, odd way. A government agency or well-known organization will not ask a person to pay anything using a method like gift cards or cryptocurrency.
  • Callers with these scams also pressure people to provide financial or personal information, like a person’s Social Security number. Do not give information over the phone to a random caller.
  • If you suspect a caller could be lying about their credentials, hang up and call back the number officially listed for the agency or organization on their website or in the phone book. Caller ID can be spoofed, so double-check using official channels even if the caller is labeled with the group they claim to be a part of.
  • If you lose money through a scam, report it immediately to your local sheriff’s office or police department.

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Robin Opsahl
Robin Opsahl

Robin Opsahl is an Iowa Capital Dispatch reporter covering the state Legislature and politics. Robin has experience covering government, elections and more at media organizations including Roll Call, the Sacramento Bee and the Wausau Daily Herald, in addition to working on multimedia projects, newsletters and visualizations. They were a political reporter for the Des Moines Register covering the Iowa caucuses leading up to the 2020 presidential election, assisting with the Register's Iowa Poll, and reporting on Iowa's 4th District elections.