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Better Business Bureau Warns Public About Phone Scams, Now Preying On Pandemic Fears

BATAVIA, Ill. (CBS) -- A warning was issued Wednesday night about a new twist on a common phone scam – preying on people's fears over the pandemic.

The Better Business Bureau reported the scam involves people often claiming to be law enforcement officers saying their Social Security number has been associated with a crime, or threatening to deport decent immigrants or arrest people for missing jury duty. The scammers often threaten to arrest people immediately if they do not pay money – usually with gift cards.

Carl and Yvonne Dinwiddie of Batavia got such a call, threatening legal action if they did not hand over personal and financial information.

"We don't know you we can trust anymore, so we need to advise especially senior citizens that if you get one of these calls, do not return them," Yvonne Dinwiddie said.

The Better Business Bureau warned Wednesday night that the scams are getting more sophisticated.

Scammers posing as contact tracers, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials, and even IRS workers calling about COVID-19 relief payments have all been reported.

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