Officials with the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Division of Criminal Investigation are issuing a warning about a new telephone scam.

The scam targets citizens when callers posing as employees of the “Iowa State Police” claim they have a seized vehicle with drugs inside and that the vehicle is registered to the citizen.

The calls seem to be originating from the 712 area code.

If the citizen does not answer or hangs up on the initial call, a secondary call is being reported as coming from “911,” with the callers becoming more verbally aggressive, claiming they are with the “police” and that they have a warrant for the citizen’s arrest.

If you receive a similar phone call, contact your local law enforcement and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office Hotline at (515) 281-5926 or (888) 777-4590.

Here are some tips to prevent you from being targeted by fraudulent calls:

  • If you get a call from someone who claims they are collecting money on behalf of the DPS – even if a caller ID device shows the DPS – just hang up.
  • The DPS does not demand immediate payment via prepaid debit cards.
  • Do not provide or confirm personal information or financial information to anyone who calls.

(By Ric Hanson, KJAN, Atlantic)