Consumer Column

Attorney General Jeff Landry Warns Consumers of IRS Phone Scam

BATON ROUGE, LA – Attorney General Jeff Landry is warning Louisiana residents and businesses to be vigilant of telephone scammers claiming to be associated with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Recently, Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Consumer Protection Section has received calls from people reporting that they have been contacted by scammers identifying themselves as IRS representatives. 

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS, and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest or suspension of business and driver’s licenses. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.

“These scammers are shameless criminals who will stop at nothing to get your cash or personal information,” said Attorney General Jeff Landry. “If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a representative from the IRS who is threatening to take legal action against you, remember that the IRS does not initiate contact requesting information by electronic means. Also, they do not call asking for credit cards numbers or demanding payment without first sending a notification by mail.”

Attorney General Jeff Landry advises citizens to be on the lookout for the following signs:

  • Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.
  • Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.
  • Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number or a 202 area code (Washington, DC) on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.
  • Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
  • Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
  • After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police, and the caller ID supports their claim

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS:

  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.
  • If you know you do not owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), call to report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.
Education is the best way to avoid the pitfalls of fraud and scams. For additional consumer tips, contact Attorney General Jeff Landry’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-351-4889.

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Coming soon, the attorney's general office seeks to provide a mechanism by which to take online payments for collections.