As Iowa’s disability-related information and referral service, Iowa Compass reaches out to a broad audience. Because we use information technology (IT) to reach our audience, we pay close attention to the need for digital security.

Iowa Compass is based at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). This allows us to share IT security provided by UIHC and the University of Iowa. We follow best practices for online safety to make sure the Iowa Compass website is secure.

Keeping Iowa Compass secure means that we all must learn how scams work. There are many kinds of scams that take place online and by phone. There are more and more “bad actors” who scheme to steal information from people and businesses.

Phishing and Spoofing

Phishing and spoofing are common IT scams.

Phishing scams use email, phone, and text messages. A phishing scheme may use “spoofed” or fake emails to bait people into giving scammers private information. Most often their goal is to get people to share bank and credit card numbers, or even their social security numbers.

Spoofing happens when a person or program pretends to be someone else electronically. They use the real email address or phone number of a trusted source to hide their own. They send a message that may contain malware or a virus. This helps them get around security to steal data or financial information.

Beating the Scams Together

Recently some spoofing emails have involved Iowa Compass. These emails have used our name and our email address. Some have asked for payment to be in the Compass database. Some have sent links or attachments to phony invoices or receipts in the emails.

It is important to remember Iowa Compass does not charge for its services:

  • We do not charge to be in our database.
  • We do not charge for our information and referral services.

If you get an email from Iowa Compass you think might be a scam, call us at 1-800-779-2001. We report all suspicious emails to the University of Iowa and to Homeland Security.

What to Do with Any Suspicious Email

If you get an email you suspect might be a scam, the following steps can help keep you, your computer, and your information safe:

  1. Do not click on links or open any attachments.
  2. Move the suspicious email to your “Junk” folder.
  3. Alert your organization’s IT support team, if you have one.
  4. If you don’t have IT support, get in touch with your email domain provider for help.

Email Domain Providers

Below are links to common email domain providers in Iowa.

Use these links to find instructions to report spam:

Use these links to report spam by email:

Use this link to reach Gmail’s Program Policies violation form:

Being aware and learning more are the best ways to avoid falling victim to scams. Two great sources to find out more about IT security are: