Tips to Avoid Being Scammed

(Thursday, May 10, 2018) 

Provided by the Dubuque Police Department.

• Question everything. The old saying “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” remains accurate.

• Research. Never make a hasty decision when it comes to providing personal information, account information and/or sending/giving money. Take a few minutes to verify the legitimacy by making some calls or searching the internet.

• Tax agencies like The IRS and Iowa Department of Revenue will not call you without warning and ask you to pay a fine or an unpaid tax bill over the phone. There is a formal process that begins with them mailing you a letter or tax bill.

• Don’t let a scam caller scare you into turning over bank account information or wiring money with the threat of a lawsuit or criminal charges. When in doubt, check with your local law enforcement agency in person or by calling a legitimate phone number for them.

• Gift cards or pre-paid credit cards are not a valid form of payment for anything.

• Be especially skeptical of unsolicited contacts – regardless of the method (phone, email, text, mail, in-person, etc.). If you didn’t initiate the contact/interaction, be very cautious.

• Door-to-door sales/solicitation requires a permit in Dubuque. If someone comes to your door and can’t provide a valid permit and credentials, tell them to leave – or stand by as you call police. Resist the temptation to buy anything being sold door-to-door.

• Never let anyone inside your home unless you have verified they are safe and legitimate. Again, this can usually be accomplished with a quick phone call to a verified number.

• When possible, use local, reputable service providers with legitimate, confirmable references.

• If a loved one calls requesting money for any reason, make some calls of your own to make sure it’s legitimate – they can wait the few minutes it takes you to verify.

• Do not trust your caller I.D. – it can be “spoofed” to appear as though the call is coming from a legitimate source when in fact it’s not.

• Do not open links in emails – even though it appears to have come from a trusted sender. Email accounts get hacked frequently and email addresses can be altered slightly to appear legitimate when they’re not. Change your passwords often and keep computer security updated.

• If you do not recognize an incoming number, don’t answer the phone. If it’s that important, they’ll leave a message and allow you time to verify the legitimacy of the call/inquiry.

• Use a credit card for purchases, especially major ones and those conducted online.

• If you’re selling something, be wary of over-payment checks – it’s always a scam.

• Never buy anything sight unseen.

• Carefully monitor/review financial statements and check your credit report at least annually.

• Do not wire money and ignore requests to do so.

• Never pay money, to get money.

• Keep your information private, including your phone number(s) – only give it to those you trust.

• Do not post sensitive information online (vacation plans, pictures of valuables, etc.).

• Consider signing up for Dubuque’s “Notify Me” service – all important media releases and timely information is sent using this service (as it is through too).

• Important online resources/websites:
– Internet Crime Complaint Center (
– Federal Trade Commission (
– Better Business Bureau (
– Federal Bureau of Investigation (
– Iowa Attorney General (

All DuTrac offices will be closed Wednesday, June 19, for Juneteenth.

All DuTrac branches will be closed on Thursday, July 4, for Independence Day.

All DuTrac branches will be closed on Monday, January 15, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. day.

All DuTrac branches will be closed on Monday, February 19, for Presidents' Day.

All DuTrac branches will be closed on Monday, May 27, for Memorial Day.

All DuTrac branches will be closed on Monday, December 25, for Christmas Day.

All DuTrac branches will be closed on Monday, January 1, for New Year's Day.

Due to inclement weather, all DuTrac branches will close at 1:00 PM today, January 9. Online banking, AccessLine, ATMs and our app are available 24/7 for your convenience.