A heartless con artist is striking in an area of southwest Iowa that’s in eminent danger from the flooding Missouri River. Council Bluffs Fire Chief Alan Byers says someone is posing as a city official, knocking on doors and telling people they must evacuate right away — in an apparent attempt to lure residents away so the homes can be ransacked.

Chief Byers says, “We’ve had people, who have identified themselves as city employees, talked elderly people into vacating their houses immediately with the thought that they would be back in and a theft would occur.” Byers says the thief was even offering to help some of the elderly victims pack.

Fortunately, no one has fallen for the scam by leaving their homes unattended. “We had 11 people in the same neighborhood call 911 questioning the need to evacuate at the moment,” Byers says. “The police department responded. We couldn’t find the individual. We will prosecute to the fullest.” He says if this crook knocks on your door, call the police right away. He’s also asking neighbors to keep an eye on each other’s property — and each other.