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Cedar Rapids Police Warn of Scams Targeting Senior Citizens

The Cedar Rapids Police Department were notified of at least three scams targeting local Senior Citizens on Monday.  Here is the latest from the CRPD:

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – June 16, 2014 – The Cedar Rapids Police Department has received at least three reports of scams involving senior citizens today.

One incident involved a man claiming that he worked for Alliant Energy and that he needed the homeowner to flip light switches in her basement because the utility company showed that there was an electrical short inside the residence.  The man said that he fixed the problem.  Later, the victim discovered $260 missing from her purse.

A second incident involved men claiming to work for Alliant Energy who said that they were going to install a lightning rod on the roof of the house to prevent damage during severe weather season.  Initially they told the homeowner there was no charge, and then they wanted $700 for the work.

A third incident involved men claiming that they were sent to a residence to do warranty work on the home’s siding.

The Police Department would like citizens to be aware of these scams.  Alliant Energy and other utility companies will carry identification with them and will most likely arrive in a marked utility vehicle with the company logo.  Further, utility companies do not show up unannounced at a house to provide service.  Citizens should call the service number on their utility bill if there is any question about the legitimacy of a utility employee’s presence at your home.

Citizens do not have to allow anyone inside their home that they were not expecting.  Utility companies schedule their service calls.  It is not recommended that you authorize any “warranty” work that you have not previously scheduled.
While senior citizens were targets of the scams today, all citizens should be aware of these tactics.

As a general reminder, the Police Department reminds residents that anyone who sells goods and services door-to-door must be licensed.  Everyone going door-to-door is required to carry the issued permit, which contains a photograph of the individual.

The Police Department encourages citizens to request that they see the City license before doing business with a door-to-door solicitor.  Citizens should never feel like they have to answer the door for a solicitor, invite a door-to-door salesperson into the home, or feel pressured to make a purchase.
The Police Department recommends that residents ask questions about the name of the business and where it is located.  Only write checks to businesses, and not to individuals.

To verify that there is a permit for a specific business, call the Cedar Rapids City Clerk at (319) 286-5060.

To report a possible scam, call the Police Department at (319) 286-5491.

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