Two Hiawatha residents reported separately that a stranger, who turned out to be falsely impersonating a health official, tried to get them to go with him Tuesday, Hiawatha Police Chief John A. Defore said Wednesday on his department’s Facebook site.
In both incidents, the man was turned away and left the area, Defore said. His office was investigating but had made no arrests.
Defore said a woman who lives in the 400 block of Oregon reported Tuesday evening that an unknown man between 3 and 4 p.m. Tuesday had knocked on her door and, after she answered, told her he was from the Brown County Health Department.
The man told the woman she had been exposed to COVID-19 and needed to come with him to a hospital to get tested, the woman said.
She said she asked the man if that was mandatory and he said “No, but it is strongly urged.”
The man tried to take the woman’s temperature and she refused, Defore said.
“He then told her that if the COVID-19 results came back positive he would return,” he said.
Later Tuesday, Defore said, his department took a report of a similar incident having taken place in the 100 block of Apache in Hiawatha.
In that case, he said, a man fitting the same description impersonated a Brown County Health Department official while asking a victim the same basic questions and trying unsuccessfully to get that person to go with him.
“As with any scam or door-to-door solicitor you are always encouraged to call 911 ASAP or your local police department,” Defore said. “For those of you that live in Hiawatha, please call 911 or Hiawatha police dispatch at 742-2155.”
Defore also encouraged people to never open the door to a stranger. He said no public official will ever be without proper identification.