Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Phone Scam Warning

LAPD patrol car

LAPD’s Olympic Division is warning neighbors this morning about the resurgence of an old phone scam that continues to rear its ugly head as tax season gets under way this month.

In the most common version of the scheme, says the LAPD, callers identifying themselves as IRS representatives contact taxpayers by phone, claiming that they owe money to the IRS. The victims are told that they must pay the balance immediately using a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer or be subject to punishment, including arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license.

The callers usually have heavy foreign accents, use common names and fake badge numbers. The number on the caller ID may also look like the IRS since the thieves may spoof the IRS toll-free number.

Also, it is not unusual for the caller to turn hostile during the call, and use threatening language.

If you receive such a call, please remember that the IRS does not usually initiate contact by phone: your first contact with the IRS is usually by mail. Additionally, the IRS will never ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer, or ask for a credit card number over the phone (the IRS uses a third-party processor for credit card payments via its website). The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.

If you receive a call that fits this description, you should hang up immediately and contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484 or the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. For further information, refer to the warning on the IRS website at the following link:

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Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and has been writing for the Buzz since 2015.

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