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Cook County Sheriff Warns of Phone Scam

Callers are telling victims they are from the Internal Revenue Service, the Cook County Sheriff reports.

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is warning of a phone scam where callers threaten victims with arrest and/or deportation if they do not pay up. 

Cook County Sheriff’s Police have received a number of reports from the unincorporated Des Plaines area of unknown callers telling victims they are from the Internal Revenue Service or a collection agency. 

The callers tell the victims, all of whom are originally from India, that they could be arrested or deported if they do not send the “payments owed.” The callers often speak to the victims in various Indian languages. 

Average individual losses have been in the thousands. 

In some cases, victims were instructed to make payments via Green Dot MoneyPak reloadable debit cards. 

Sheriff Dart offers the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of this type of scam: 

  • If you believe the call is suspicious, hang up. 
  • Do not send money to anyone unfamiliar to you. 
  • Do not give any personal information, such as social security or bank account numbers, over the phone. 
  • If the caller claims to be from the Internal Revenue Service, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine if the agency has a legitimate reason to call you. 
  • If the caller claims to be from a collection agency, get the name and contact information for the collection agency and call back to determine if there is a legitimate reason to contact you. 
  • Check any unfamiliar area codes before returning calls. 
  • If you do not have Caller ID, consider adding it to your phone service. 

Report any suspicious phone calls to your local law enforcement or Cook County Sheriff’s Police at 708-865-4896. 

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