Tag: 010814

Fraud! Top 10 Signs of a Sweepstakes Scam

The La Porte City Police Department warns area residents to be wary of notices that promise the award of a large cash prize. Here are ten signs to be on the lookout for in bogus sweepstakes announcements:
 1. Sweepstakes Scams Require a Payment to Receive the Prize
Legitimate sweepstakes will never ask the winner to pay a fee to receive a prize. You should never have to pay a processing fee, handling charges, or a service fee of any kind before accepting a prize.
 2. Sweepstakes Scams Use Free E-mail Accounts
While it’s possible that some legitimate sweepstakes sponsors could send notification of a prize by e-mail, large companies like Publishers Clearing House do NOT use free e-mail accounts like Hotmail or Gmail. Stay away from any that do.
 3. Sweepstakes Scams Declare You a Winner… But You Don’t Recognize the Company
You can only win sweepstakes that you enter. If you didn’t submit an entry for a sweepstakes that declares you a winner, it doesn’t matter how official the announcement looks. You didn’t win.
 4. Sweepstakes Scams Send You a Large Check with your Notification
To fool people into thinking that a sweepstakes scam is legitimate, many con artists send counterfeit checks with their bogus notifications. Cashing fraudulent checks is a crime and legitimate sweepstakes require affidavits before sending out any prize valued at more than $600.
 5. Sweepstakes Scams Instruct You to Wire Money
Criminals love to use services like Western Union to receive illicit funds, because it is nearly impossible to trace who received the money. Western Union transfers are handled like cash, and it is nearly impossible to get back any money that you send to con artists in this way. Legitimate sweepstakes do not require the use of a wire service to send money.
 6. Sweepstakes Scams Pressure You to Act in a Hurry
Sweepstakes scammers have a very good reason for wanting their victims to act quickly. They want to get their money before the victim realizes what is going on. If you feel like you are being pressured to make a decision before you have the time to confirm the prize awarded is legitimate, be very suspicious.
 7. Sweepstakes Scams Require Bank or Credit Card Information
Legitimate sweepstakes do not send money by direct deposit, nor do they need to withdraw money from your bank or verify information using a credit card number. NEVER give out bank or credit card information.
 8. The “Win” is From a Lottery
It is impossible to win a lottery without buying a ticket. If you did buy a ticket, winning numbers can easily be checked in the newspaper or on the internet. Notices that come from foreign lotteries are even more suspicious. Not only do foreign lotteries have the same restriction as domestic lotteries, it is also illegal to sell tickets for foreign lotteries across international borders. So, unless you were actually in the foreign country and bought a lottery ticket while there, foreign lottery notifications are surely sweepstakes scams.
 9. Sweepstakes Scam Notifications Are Usually Sent Via Bulk Mail
When a legitimate sweepstakes sponsor sends out win notifications, they use first class postage or services such as FedEx or UPS to deliver them to ensure they arrive in a timely fashion. Sweepstakes scam artists, however, target as many people they can for the least cost. They send scam letters out by bulk mail to take advantage of the postage savings. For this reason, never trust a win notification that arrives by bulk mail.
 10. Sweepstakes Scams Contain Many Typos
It’s possible any company could have a spelling error in their prize announcement. Glaring errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation, though, should set off red flags in your mind. Many sweepstakes scams originate outside of the United States and Canada, created by people with a poor command of the English language. Be very cautious of any win notice that contains a lot of errors.

Two Knights Earn Class 2A Academic All-State Football Team Honors

Congratulations to champion Nick Weich and his parents Sam and Sharyl, and also Bo Bader and his parents Barb and Ron, as both were recently selected as members of the 2013 Academic All-State football team for Class 2A by the Iowa Football Coaches Association. Nick was starting snapper and a member of several special teams units while Bo was a starting defensive end.
Criteria for nomination and selection were:

Player must be a senior starter

Player must have a cumulative GPA of 3.7 or better at the end of his junior year

Player must be involved in other extra-curricular activities

The Head Coach must recommend the player

Hawkins’ Happenings – January 8, 2014

By Jolene Kronschnabel
At Story Time on Thursday, January 9, 10:30 AM, preschoolers will read stories about celebrating the New Year.
From 1 to 3 PM on Thursday, January 9, Hawkins’ Handcrafters meet.  You can bring any type of craft or handwork to work on and join others at the library for conversation and inspiration. Get out and enjoy some company on a cold afternoon.
The Kids’ Wild About Books Club, a group for fourth graders and up, will chat about the book How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor, at 3:45 PM on Wednesday, January 15. Register at the library, read the book, and join other kids for a lively discussion and snacks.
Read penguin books with us during Story Time on Thursday, January16. Preschoolers will enjoy learning about these cute and unique birds.
Planes is the movie showing on Monday, January 20, at 1:15 PM. In this flick, a crop dusting plane with a fear of heights lives his dream of competing in a famous around-the-world aerial race. We always have popcorn and games with the movie.
Are you interested in learning or improving your computer skills? Sign up at the library to participate in a basic computer use class for Windows. The program will be held on Tuesday, January 21, from 9 to 10 AM.
January is National Soup Month and the library has loads of books with soup recipes for you to try.  Soup makes a great winter meal to keep you warm.
Do you own DVDs that you no longer watch? Consider donating them to the library.  We accept new or used movies that are rated G, PG, or PG-13. As DVDs are added to the library’s collection, they replace movies that have been damaged or are missing.
Library patrons can renew borrowed books, magazines, and DVDs online. Logon to laportecity.lib.ia.us and click on the catalog tab to access your account using your patron and telephone numbers. While there, you can update your e-mail and phone number, view a items currently checked out, as well as renew, reserve, or bookmark materials. You can also choose to receive warning, overdue, and reserve notices by text or e-mail. This is a great service to use after hours or when you don’t have time to stop in the library.
 

Practical Money Matters – January 8, 2014

By Jason Alderman
What If Your Car Gets Totaled?
Each year, auto insurance companies declare millions of vehicles to be “totaled,” meaning it’s not worth the cost to repair them. It doesn’t matter whether the car was damaged in a collision, during a flood or after a thief’s joyride went bad.
It’s hard to argue with such an assessment if your car was wrapped around a telephone pole or the gas tank exploded. But what if the damage was more cosmetic, such as major dents on the roof and hood from a hailstorm?
A vehicle is considered a total loss if the insurance company determines that the total cost to repair your car to pre-accident condition, plus fees for storage, salvage and a replacement rental car (if included in your policy), is more than a certain percentage of car’s retail value. Insurers set their own allowable percentage, within state-mandated guidelines (typically around 60 to 75 percent), and use their own formulas to determine a car’s value and estimated repair costs.
Thus, if your $4,500-valued 2002 Honda Civic sustains $1,800 worth of damage – moderate bodywork and repainting these days – it might be deemed totaled, even though the engine still runs fine. On the other hand, a late-model Mercedes could sustain far greater damage and still be considered salvageable.
What’s worse, if the accident was your fault, or you must otherwise tap your own insurance (e.g., it was caused by an uninsured driver), you would only receive that $4,500 minus your deductible. Good luck finding a comparable car for that amount.
Other big losers when a car is totaled are people still paying off their auto loan. Since the lender technically owns the car, they’ll get first crack at any insurance payment; and you’ll still be responsible for paying off the loan balance.
As a preventative measure, you may want to purchase gap insurance if you owe more than the car’s retail value – or if you rolled past debt into the new car loan. It will pay the outstanding loan balance if your car is totaled or stolen. Most insurers will let you add gap insurance at any time.
Here are a few additional points you should know about when and why a car is declared totaled, and precautions you can take ahead of time to lessen the impact:

Make sure the insurance appraisal includes the value of all extra features and aftermarket accessories, like heated seats, custom wheels or an upgraded audio system.

Be prepared to show documentation of any major repairs or upgrades you made that might boost the car’s value – say you recently replaced the engine or bought new tires.

Do your own research. Use independent pricing sites like Kelly Blue Book or Edmunds to determine your car’s worth, factoring in its mileage, added features and overall condition before the accident.

If your estimate is far off from the proposed settlement, ask whether your policy includes the right to hire your own appraiser for a second opinion. Most states have a procedure for settling such disputes. Understand, however, that no matter the arbitration outcome, you’ll still have to pay your appraiser, and likely, a portion of arbitration costs.

Make sure the insurer’s totaled car value includes estimated sales tax to replace the car, as well as registration and title costs, since you wouldn’t have incurred these costs if you didn’t need to replace the car.

Let’s hope your car is never totaled, but it pays to know in advance what to do if it is.

La Porte City Lions Host Trivia Tournament

Want a break from your winter blues…? Try the First Annual La Porte City Lions Club Trivia Tournament and help support your community!   The tournament is scheduled for 7 PM on Saturday, January 25, 2014 at the La Porte City Golf Clubhouse.  Doors will open at 6:30 PM.  The Golf Club bar will be open and food will be available for purchase, including hot dogs, homemade chili, popcorn and a variety of homemade desserts.  Door prizes will also be awarded.
The tournament will consist of teams of eight people.  Team members pay $10 each to play.  Each round will include ten questions, one from each of the ten trivia categories included in the tournament.
The tournament does not allow the use of any electronic devices. Teams may not use books or access the internet when answering their questions. An official answer sheet will be distributed to teams each round and members are allowed to assist each other in determining their answers. At the conclusion of the round, the answer sheets will be collected, scored, and reviewed with the teams prior to revealing the correct answers.  Questions are worth 10 points each, so a perfect score for a round is 100 points.
Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the La Porte City Lions Club, allowing them to continue to support a variety of community projects.  The La Porte City Lion’s Club has a long history of helping improve the quality of life in the community and the continued support of the community’ for those projects is greatly appreciated.
Gather up a team of eight and plan to join us for this fun evening! Team reservations are not required, but would be appreciated. Contact Shawn Mehlert at 319-342-3121 or smehlert@gmail.com or Lion’s President Bill Judd at 319-342-3979 or wejfd@mchsi.com if you would like to make a team reservation or if you have any questions about the event.

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