Like the flowers bloom in the springtime, the I.R.S. phone scams always seem to blossom about the time most of us have received our federal or state tax refund. It seems the bad guys believe they should have our money. By bad guys I mean crooks, not the I.R.S. although some have considered them to be a bit crooked as well.

The Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is warning that phone calls from 816-518-0333 have been reported in the Acadiana area. The scammers leave a voice-mail on your phone. One viewer of KLFY TV 10 reported the context of the voice-mail to be this.

A lawsuit has been filed under your name by the United States Government. You may call our department number at 816-518-0333.

If you've gotten that message whatever you do don't call the number. It is a total scam. The federal government doesn't notify people of lawsuits via phone. In fact, nobody does. In the case of a lawsuit, you have to be served in person by a representative of the court.

Another key that you're dealing with phone scammers is how they demand payment. In one I.R.S. based scam, the caller says your refund was in error and they request that you "pay the government back" with gift cards.

The best advice we can give is don't answer the call if the number is unfamiliar. If they leave a voice-mail don't return the call. Make a note of the number and the time of day they called and get the details of the call and report it to Attorney General Jeff Landry's office. They will take it from there.


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