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Grand Forks County sheriff warns of scammer impersonating deputy

The Grand Forks Sheriff’s Department is asking residents to be aware of a phone scam involving someone impersonating law enforcement.

A man claiming to be “Lt. Brad McCoy” called a resident Saturday and said he had a warrant for her arrest but could clear it by placing money on a gift card, according to the Sheriff’s Office on Monday.

“The impersonating officer tells you to put money on a gift card and call him back and provide him with the numbers on the back of the card,” stated a press release.

Residents might receive several calls from someone who claims to be a deputy. The phone number the impersonator will call from will likely be a 701 area code and be set up with a voice mail that sounds legitimate. The impersonator may also know the victim’s personal address and sound legitimate, too, according to the release.

Sgt. Dan Hillebrand said residents who receive a similar call should get as much information as possible during the interaction but shouldn’t give out any personal information. They should also write down the phone number the person is dialing from, too, and contact the Sheriff’s Office, he said.

“If we can track this guy down, it would be the best thing,” he said.

If the person is caught, he would be charged with impersonating an officer, a felony, as well as for the scam itself, he said.  

Hillebrand said this is the first scam of its kind in the area that he’s aware of and it’s a serious one. Most people tend to trust law enforcement and are “more likely to fall for this than they would something else,” he said.

Contact the Sheriff’s Office at (701) 780-8280

Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson is the K-12 education reporter for The Grand Forks Herald.  Contact her if you have any story ideas or tips and visit 

(701) 787-6736