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Sheriff warns Indian immigrants of scam

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is warning Indian immigrants about a phone scam that’s recently targeted several victims in unincorporated Des Plaines. Victims received calls in which they were told they owed money to the Internal Revenue Service or to a collections agency, and that failure to pay would result in arrest or deportation.

“The amounts actually vary from victim to victim in the reports that we’ve had, but in some cases it’s been in the thousands,” said Sophia Ansari, Press Secretary at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. Ansari said the caller often instructed victims to pay with a replenishable debit card.

The perpetrator spoke to the victims in English, Hindi, Gujarati and other Indian dialects.

Ansari said anyone who receives a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from the IRS or from a collections agency should record the name and number of the caller, and to contact the agency that the caller purports to represent.

Odette Yousef is WBEZ’s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her at @oyousef.

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