The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

October 12, 2013

Shutdown halts some anti-fraud efforts

Many folks call me to report unwanted phone calls from telemarketers or scammers masquerading as legitimate telemarketers.

Other folks call me to report identity theft or other fraud. One of the methods we use to fight this kind of activity is to report it to federal authorities, who track these kinds of things. Two of the options available for reporting are the Do Not Call Registry and the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel.

Anyone can call or go online to make reports. Frequently, I make the complaint on behalf of citizens who call me with problems. With the Do Not Call Registry, you can register your phone number, preventing telemarketers from making calls to your number.

However, for the duration of this government shutdown, you can do nothing with either of these federal resources. Both are shut down to the public, and to law enforcement. One of the features of the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel is the ability for law enforcement to search nationwide complaints.

For instance, if someone calls me and tells me they got a call from a certain number, and the caller represented themselves as a debt collector, I can research that number to see if the number showed up in other complaints of fraud. That’s pretty useful information if you are trying to figure out whether a debt collection call is a scam, or for real. But until the government gets back in business, none of us can use this resource.

Slots still available

The AARP Safe Driving class, co-hosted by Seniors vs. Crime, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 29 at the Clinton Community College Technology Center, 1951 Manufacturing Drive in Clinton. The class is about half full with registered students now.

If you want to attend, get yourself registered soon. To register, call (888) 336-3907 at Eastern Iowa Community College District, or call Clinton Community College at 244-7100. You need to register for Safe Driving Class, Course 128435 ($14 cost for non-AARP members), or if you are an AARP member, Course 128439 ($12 cost).

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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