The Pella Police Department would like to remind everyone to stay vigilant regarding scams, as the department has become aware of several scams circulating at this time. Interim Chief Paul Haase says they’ve been receiving details about scammers that are attempting to elicit scams based off of Census requests and scams driven by the fear of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Haase says the Pella Police Department wishes to remind residents to stay safe and follow the tips to avoid falling prey to possible scams:
• In all business transactions, calls, and debt collections that are not self-initiated it is recommended that citizens verify the company, check the legitimacy of the claim, and then re-initiate the call to the company’s publicly listed contact number. Additionally, no matter how insistent the caller is, always investigate the circumstances the caller introduces prior to making any payments or sharing personal information. For example, call the utilities publicly listed number if you believe you owe money. Do not advertise this step to the caller, and if they sense you are about to make a follow up call, do not allow them to talk you out of it. As always, prior to making any decisions or payment check the allegation out first.
• At this time, there are NO vaccines, pills, lozenges, or potions, prescribed or over-the-counter, prevent or cure COVID-19. NONE. Be suspicious of anyone who suggests that they have the “miracle cure”.
• No Federal, State, or local agencies are offering “door-to-door” COVID-19 testing. DO NOT open your door for anyone who offers this service.
• Online, don’t click on links to sources that you are not familiar with. It could download malware or a digital “virus” to your computer. If you have questions, go to reliable sources (Marion County Public Health, Iowa Dept. of Public Health, CDC)
• Government agencies, utility companies, banks, etc WILL NOT contact you and request your personal information (Social Security number, date of birth, account numbers). Consult your local utility provider BEFORE authorizing payment to anyone over the phone or via email.
• We all want to do what we can to help our neighbors. Be aware of GoFundMe pages and newly established “charity” organizations. Safest bet….stay local and support our businesses, food charities, and established community support organizations.
• It is important to know that the Census Bureau will not send unsolicited emails to request participation in the 2020 Census. Furthermore, the Census Bureau will never ask for your Social Security number, bank or credit information, or for money or donations.
If you believe that you have been victimized, or that there was an attempt to scam you, please contact the Pella Police Department at 641-628-4921.