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Alleged scam emails hitting area

Modified: Thursday, Mar 16th, 2017

TORRINGTON – Promotional emails, asking businesses to take part in the publication of “Information Booklets and Events Calendars” for the community are most likely a scam, said an investigator with the office of the Iowa Attorney General in Des Moines.

The emails, copies of which arrived Wednesday at the Torrington Telegram, promise the booklets will “keep the households safe, by having all the emergency contacts and other important numbers, like the local school districts, and utilities. The (booklets) are a perfect fit for all businesses, looking to grow a product based in the community for business and families.”

Al Perales, an investigator with AG’s office in Iowa, said the Davenport, Iowa-based company and its owner, identified as Alphonso W. Barnum, is known to them. Perales’ office has had dealings with the company, CW Promotions LLC, in the past and is currently reviewing numerous complaints.

“Just yesterday (Tuesday), I got a call from California” about another of Barnham’s alleged businesses, Pareles said. That caller said they were suspicious of the company and requesting information, he said.

In researching the issue, he found out Barnum was not related to the other business. But Barnum had opened the business responsible for the current spate of email solicitations, CW Promotions LLC, after being released from prison.

One problem with this type of company is they often either openly misrepresent what they’re doing or leave important information out, such as a lack of affiliation with local schools, chambers of commerce or other entities. This leads potential customers of the companies to believe they’re supporting a local cause or business, when that’s not actually the case, Perales said.

“We tell anybody, when they get a call from one of these companies, check to see if there’s an actual tie-in,” he said. “More often, they'll find there’s not.”

The emails are easily identifiable, listed as arriving from an “@cwpromotions.biz” email address. Another company, City Wide Promotions, based in Maryland is not affiliated with Barnum or his companies in Iowa. On the Maryland company’s website is a warning, stating that company has become aware of the scam and disavowing any connection to the Iowa-based business.

Because the business is based in Iowa, anyone who has issues with the cwpromotions.biz business can contact the Iowa AG’s office to make a report, online at iowaattorneygeneral.gov.

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