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BATON ROUGE — Revenue Secretary Cynthia Bridges says the state’s taxpayers should continue to remain alert for scam telephone calls that are purportedly from the Revenue Department and seek personal information.
“We continue to receive reports of callers identifying themselves as Department of Revenue employees and seeking to obtain a taxpayer’s bank account number by promising to deposit a “grant” as a reward for paying taxes on time,” Bridges says. “These calls are simply an attempt to gain unlawful access to the taxpayer’s bank account. There are no such grants and taxpayers should consider these telephone calls a scam designed to rob their bank account,” Bridges emphasizes. Bridges says investigations by her Department’s Special Investigations Division and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office seem to indicate at least some of the calls originate from out of the country.
“Some of our recent reports show that the caller sometimes already has the taxpayer’s personal information,” Bridges points out. When questioned by the taxpayer, the caller will state that the information comes from the taxpayer’s tax return. “In one case, the taxpayer worked for a bank and immediately closed her account. Later, an attempt was made to draft money from that closed account,” Bridges states.
Bridges tells of another taxpayer who was also told that her personal information had come from her tax return. However, the information supplied was incorrect because the taxpayer had recently married and the new information the caller had was different from the old information listed on her tax return.
“These callers can sound very convincing,” Bridges says. “The caller tells the taxpayer that because of their excellent record of paying taxes on time, they are entitled to receive a grant given by the Department. The caller then assures the taxpayer that the Department issues hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in these grants.” Bridges points out that the taxpayer is then told there is a $249 “processing fee” to receive an $8,000 grant. The caller then either requests the taxpayer’s 16-digit bank account number in order to deposit the funds and to pay the processing fee, or asks the taxpayer to confirm personal information the caller already has.
“Taxpayers should never confirm or give out their bank account number, Social Security Number, or any other personal information to a telephone caller or in answer to a mail solicitation,” Bridges states. “We strongly advise taxpayers to be continually vigilant against this scheme and to tell their friends and family of its existence.”
To report possible fraudulent calls, taxpayers should contact the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office at 225-326-6400, or the Department of Revenue’s Special Investigations Division at 225-219-2280.
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