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updated: 6/20/2014 7:48 AM

Consumer watchdog warns of tax phone scam in Illinois

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Associated Press

A consumer watchdog group has warned Chicago and northern Illinois residents of a phone scam where callers pose as IRS officials and trick people into sending them money.

The Better Business Bureau on Thursday released a statement about the nationwide phone scam that has led to losses of about $1 million. The group says scammers call taxpayers and threaten them with jail, deportation and a loss of property to force payments.

Better Business Bureau president Steve Bernas says scammers have been reported to use a "spoof" number to copy the IRS's real hotline. The group recommends that residents hang up immediately if they receive a scam phone call.

The IRS says it never contacts taxpayers by phone or email asking for money but contacts people only by mail.

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