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MICHIGAN CITY — Police are warning of yet another phone scam involving people who pose as government officials or debt collectors and threaten to arrest would-be victims if they don't pay up. 

The caller typically claims to be an IRS agent, debt collector or police officer, warning the victim they are delinquent on back taxes, an old payday loan and must make a payment to avoid legal repercussions, according to a news release from the Michigan City Police Department. 

The caller will then demand the payment via Western Union, MoneyGram or pre-paid GreenDot money card to stop the police "from making an immediate arrest," the release states. 

"The fraudsters relentlessly call the victim’s home, cell phone, and place of employment in attempts to obtain payment. The callers refuse to provide information regarding the alleged payday loan or any documentation and become verbally abusive when questioned," Sgt. Chris Yagelski said. 

The high-pressure collection tactics used by the scammers is frightening and so intimidating that people are sending in money in fear they will be arrested, Michigan City police said. 

It's unknown how many reports Michigan City police have received in connection with this scam. 

Police urged people to call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 if they have questions about any potential outstanding federal tax debt.

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Northlake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.