Scammers aren’t just after grandma this time of year – they’re also targeting local businesses as well. That’s the word from Alliant Energy and MidAmerican Energy, who say that scammers are becoming far more sophisticated and getting better at imitating utility companies. The ruse is familiar – payment is needed “immediately” or service will be shut off, and an inspector will be stopping by shortly to check on the meter. In an average month, Alliant says they get 53 calls about this kind of scam; so far in December they’ve received over 400, with 75 percent targeting businesses. Keep a few things in mind: Neither Alliant nor MidAmerican will call to ask you for your credit card number, your birth date or other personal information. And they don’t accept “green dot” prepaid debit cards or iTunes gift cards. Only scam artists do. Real utility employees have ID saying that’s who they are.
Marion County saw an increase in land values from last year, but not a big enough increase to really stir farmers, according to Dale Miller, Marion County Extension Director for Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Land value in Marion County increased 1.23 percent, going from $6,490 per acre in Nov. 2016, to $6,575 per acre in Nov. 2017. Even with a slight increase, cropland profitability has been lower this year, Miller said. Land value increased across the state of Iowa except for four counties: Fremont, Mills, Montgomery and Page.