A local law enforcement official is cautioning residents about scam phone calls that recently have been reported to the police.

A local law enforcement official is cautioning residents about scam phone calls that recently have been reported to the police.

The Leavenworth Police Department has received three reports during the last two weeks involving the scam. In each case, the victim has been threatened with arrest unless money is paid in the form of gift cards, according to Maj. Dan Nicodemus, deputy chief of the Leavenworth Police Department.

In two of the cases, the victims lost money as a result of the scam.

The first incident was reported June 18. The victim received a call from someone who purported to be with the Social Security Administration.

The caller indicated the victim was in trouble and demanded money be paid using Google Play gift cards.

No money was provided to the caller in this case. But the victim was concerned because the caller knew information about the victim including a Social Security number.

A check with the victim’s bank revealed there had been no unauthorized transactions from the victim’s account, according to Nicodemus.

Two other incidents were reported Monday. In one of the cases, a caller claimed the victim owed money to the U.S. government because of tax debts.

The caller asked the victim to make a $4,000 good faith payment using Google Play gift cards, threatening that an arrest warrant would be issued if the victim did not comply.

“The victim purchased $4,000 worth of Google Play cards,” Nicodemus said.

Nicodemus said the victim passed information regarding three of the cards worth a total of $1,500 to the caller. Nicodemus said providing such information allows a scammer to access the balance on the cards.

The deputy chief said he does not know why the victim did not provide information to the caller about the other gift cards that were purchased.

In the other case, the victim was contacted by someone who purported to be with the U.S. Treasury Department. The caller indicated the victim had tax debts and demanded payment to avoid having an arrest warrant issued.

The victim provided payment using Google Play gift cards through three transactions totaling $1,300.

In each of the cases that have been reported, the scammer was said to have a foreign accent.

Nicodemus said people should be cautious if they are contacted by phone regarding money owed to the government.

“These agencies do not contact you by phone, period, to do business,” he said.

The deputy chief said people also should be cautious if a caller is demanding money immediately.

Nicodemus said most people know if they have tax issues or if warrants have been issued for their arrest.

“These things do not come out of the blue,” he said.

He said a request for payment in the form of gift cards also should be a red flag.

“No government agency would ask for Google Play gift cards,” he said.

Twitter: @LVTNewsJohnR