BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell sent out a warning Thursday morning saying scammers are calling people, pretending to be IRS officials. Victims say the scammers try to intimidate citizens into making a payment through a prepaid debit card or wire service.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and are often threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of business or driver's license. Calls often become hostile when the victim does not cooperate.
The Attorney General's office says the IRS would never call you about taxes you owe, without first mailing an official notice. The agency would also not require you to use a prepaid debit card.
If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, Attorney General Caldwell and the IRS caution you that there are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam. The IRS will not:
1. Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
3. Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here's what you should do:
- Instruct the caller that you will contact the IRS. The IRS can be reached at 1.800.829.1040 or www.IRS.gov.
- If you've been targeted by this scam, you should report the scam to the IRS at www.IRS.gov and also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your report.