ST. HELENA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Office is warning residents of a phone scam involving a caller claiming to be an investigator with the IRS.
Officials with the sheriff's office say on Monday, June 5, they responded to a call from a resident, saying they had paid a caller, who identified himself as being with the IRS. The caller claimed a payment of $10,500 would prevent the resident from being arrested for taxes owed. The caller reportedly demanded a total of $21,000.
"Residents throughout the state have been targeted, and in particular, the elderly, by these heartless predators using the phone, mail, and social media. We are aware of the scam and when I give talks to civic and church groups, I tell them that they are under no obligation to talk to these people, to be rude, hang up on them. Never respond to the call and never submit a payment," said Chester Pritchett, chief deputy of the St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Office.
Pritchett says the resident was driving from Baton Rouge to St. Helena when the scammer called again, and with the scammer still on the phone, the resident stopped at the Walker Police Department and had an officer talk to the scammer. The scammer reportedly knew a fair amount of the resident's personal information, including the last four digits of their social security number.
The St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Office wants to remind people the IRS does not make phone calls to collect taxes and does not request iTunes or similar gift cards as a form of payment. Anyone who receives a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS should not provide them with any personal information of money, and should instead contact the IRS directly if there is any question of taxes being owed. Residents should also alert their local law enforcement of scammers.