Scam prompts bomb squad response after violent threat - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Scam prompts bomb squad response after violent threat

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A violent threat targeted a Cedar Rapids business that forced the bomb squad to be called, all due to a scam.

Cedar Rapids Police say the bomb squad was called in after threats came to the CVS Pharmacy on 16th Avenue and Edgewood Road Southwest.

The caller demanded six money transfers from the store manager, and if not provided employees would be harmed.

Greg Buelow, public safety communications coordinator says the scammers are bold and brazen.

"Scammers are very sophisticated with their techniques. They can actually disguise the caller ID and have it come up as a telephone number it actually isn't," said Buelow.

While the bomb squad didn't find anything suspicious, police are taking this seriously.

They're also reviewing a utility bill scam that targeted another business in Cedar Rapids.

Police say this caller claims there's an overdue amount you owe and demands that you immediately pay with a gift card.

However Heather Holmes, spokesperson for Alliant Energy, says they would never ask you to pay your bill with gift cards.

"What these scammers are really trying to do is use intimidation tactics," said Holmes. "They're really trying to get people to not think. As these scams evolve they're getting more and more sophisticated."

Holmes says people should be aware of these con-artists because they can mask the true origin of the call and make it appear as if it is coming from a utility company.

Police say both are part of a nationwide scam, and they believe they are connected.

These two scams were targeted toward businesses, but Buelow says it's just a matter of time before they could begin targeting individuals.

Currently, police don't have an idea where the calls are coming from, but they recommend that you never fall for an unsolicited phone call demanding money be paid immediately.

You should never provide personal information like a Social Security number, credit card numbers or bank account information.

Police urge if you do get a call, get as much information as possible from the caller, including their identification and type of threat, then immediately call police with the information you gathered.

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