Public Safety

Linn County Scam Alert: Calls pretending to be sheriff warn individuals to buy gift cards or face arrest

Recorded call looks like it's coming from Linn County sheriff

A Linn County Deputy Sheriff badge (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
A Linn County Deputy Sheriff badge (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Linn County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of a scam in which a recording says you’ll be arrested if you don’t buy gift cards to avoid arrest.

In the scam, a recorded call — with caller ID making it appear the call is coming from the sheriff’s office — tells people “Judge Strand” has issued a failure-to-appear arrest warrant for them because they missed grand jury duty.

The recording tells people they can call a phone number — (319) 382-7808 — to have a deputy come and arrest them — or they can go to Hy-Vee, buy gift cards and then call to make arrangements to turn over the gift cards and avoid arrest.

“This is a SCAM and is an effort to steal your money,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

“While they have utilized computer software to replicate our phone number on caller ID, the message does not come from the Linn County Sheriff’s Office, nor any other law enforcement agency,” the release stated.

The phone number is not a sheriff’s office phone number.

The sheriff’s office said law enforcement agencies “will never call you and ask you to purchase any type of gift card to avoid arrest. “

“Hang up when you receive these calls,” it advises. “Do not call the phone number back that is provided to you in these messages.”

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