Phone scam hits Marshalltown

Public awareness seems to have quashed a phone fraud that swept through Marshalltown Thursday.

Marshalltown Police Chief Mike Tupper said calls began pouring into the communication center claiming that several local residents received suspicious text messages.

Even a few MPD employees got the phony alert, prompting police to issue a Nixle warning.

“It just seemed like it was a mass approach to get as many people in a short amount of time,” Tupper said. “They know eventually someone is going to call police and word is going to get out about the scam.”

The message was disguised as a bank alert, telling victims they needed to call a number in order to avoid their accounts being deactivated. In reality, Tupper said the number is a “ghost number” used to solicit bank information. The police had no reports of anyone being victimized.

Because they often come from outside the county, Tupper said such “ghost numbers” are hard to trace. The best solution is informing the public so no one falls for the swindle. Such tactics are typical.

Luckily, Tupper said he was unaware of any such complaints Friday. If there were more calls, they were not in as high a volume as Thursday.

The Newton Police Department issued a similar notification warning against the scam Friday.

“Be careful who you deal with on the phone,” Tupper said. “Legitimate banks and credit card companies do not do business this way.”