Phone scammers impersonating local sheriff’s deputies

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Clinton County authorities are warning of a phone scam involving calls from someone who claims to be a deputy trying to collect unpaid traffic fines.

“At least three residents of Clinton County reported receiving calls on (Saturday) 1/24/15 from a man claiming to represent the sheriff’s office,” said Clinton County Sheriff Rick Lincoln.  The caller provided a badge number, and demanded immediate payment for traffic tickets that were supposedly generated by a traffic enforcement camera in Clinton, Iowa.

That was the first clue indicating a scam, since there are no traffic enforcement cameras anywhere in Clinton County, Sheriff Lincoln said.  As with many similar scams, the caller told the potential victims to purchase a Green Dot Moneypak card, load money onto it and call back for further instructions.

“In one case, the caller threatened to send police to their homes to arrest them if they did not make immediate payment,” Lincoln said.

Traffic fines are paid by mail, in person or by phone to the clerk of the court, and not to any law enforcement officer; and no officers make phone calls to collect traffic fines.  In addition, “No one in the Iowa court system accepts Green Dot Moneypaks for payment of fines,” Sheriff Lincoln said.

If you get such a call, you’re asked to report it to the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office at 563-242-9211.  Anyone who has paid money in response to such calls should contact police.

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