Cedar Rapids CVS threatened with violence as part of new scam - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids CVS threatened with violence as part of new scam

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Cedar Rapids police say the CVS Pharmacy at the intersection of 16th Avenue and Edgewood Road SW received a threatening phone call on Wednesday morning that they believe is part of a bigger nationwide scam.

Someone called the manager of the store at around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and said there would be "violence to him and his employees" if six money grams were not provided to the caller, according to Greg Buelow, Public Safety Communications Coordinator.

The call was disconnected before any other information was obtained, police said.

Buelow says the Cedar Rapids Bomb Squad responded to the store, but didn't find anything suspicious.

Buelow says officers believe this is part of a nationwide scam that is linked to another incident which occurred in Cedar Rapids.

In the other incident, a business on the northeast side said a person called saying they were an Alliant Energy employee and the business had an overdue utility bill that needed to be paid immediately.

The caller gave the business a claim number and instructed the business to go to a drug store and buy a gift card to pay the bill. Once the gift card was purchased, the business was to call the suspect back with the gift card number.

When someone from the business went to a drug store to buy the gift card, the drug store employee told them to contact the police department and Alliant Energy before following the instructions. Alliant Energy told the business that they would not request payment in the form of a gift card.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department wants the public to be aware of this scam and says if you or your business receives a similar call, don't be pressured to pay immediately.

They say you should hang up the phone immediately and contact your utility company using the number on your bill.

They say a business only accepting payment by prepaid debit card or other gift card is a potential red flag.

Police also say you should never give out credit card information, account numbers and other personal information to an unsolicited call.

The Better Business Bureau also offers the following advice:

• Don't automatically assume that what is displayed on your caller ID is accurate. Con artists can change the number that shows up on your caller ID to make it appear legitimate and/or local.

• Don't be pressured by immediate demands for payment. Hang up and call your utility company using the number from your statement.

• Don't give out your account number or other personal information to someone soliciting you. Utility companies already know your account number. They will never call you and ask you to verify it.

• Know your options. Most utility companies offer a number of bill payment methods. Contact them for assistance if you are late or behind on your bills.

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