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Article updated: 5/8/2013 4:47 PM

Phone scam in Cook County targets natives of India


The Cook County sheriff's office released an alert warning residents of a phone scam that has been reported in an unincorporated area near Des Plaines.

Callers are threatening the victims -- who are all originally from India -- with arrest or deportation if they do not send "payments owed."

According to a news release, the callers often speak to the victims in various Indian languages and say they are from the Internal Revenue Service or a collection agency. In some cases, the victims are instructed to make payments through Green Dot MoneyPak reloadable debit cards.

Victims have lost thousands of dollars to the scam already.

The sheriff's office is advising residents not to send money to anyone they are unfamiliar with and not to give personal information like Social Security or bank account numbers over the phone.

If someone claims to be from the Internal Revenue Service, a resident can call (800) 829-1040 to determine if the agency has a legitimate reason to call. Suspicious phone calls can also be reported to the Cook County sheriff's police by calling (708) 865-4896.

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