BBB alerts to phone scams

Springtime is welcomed in Acadiana for warmer weather, flowers blooming and even baseball; but it is also a time when phone scams seem to pop up like weeds. Currently, three phone scams are operating in Acadiana, resulting in numerous calls to BBB from concerned residents.
April 15, 2014

The first scam, and one that has been going on for years in one form or another, involves scammers calling and claiming to be the IRS.

They use fear tactics to try to force people into paying money by telling them they are behind on taxes and will be arrested if they do not pay immediately.

BBB and the IRS have released warnings about the scam and are asking consumers and businesses to check with their CPA, tax preparer or the IRS directly before paying money.

The second involves scammers, often with foreign accents, pretending to be with State Farm insurance.

They call consumers from a number that appears to be local and say they need to verify their insurance information, including bank account and routing numbers.

Several people receiving this call have reported to BBB that they confirmed with their State Farm agent that the call was not coming from the company. 

It is also believed the number appearing on caller ID is “Spoofed,” or illegally disguised, to appear to be local.

The third phone scam may be the scariest for local residents.

Men claiming to be officers with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office are calling residents and informing them they missed jury duty and will be arrested unless they immediately pay $500.

According to a release by the LPSO, they are investigating the phone scam, a man identifying himself as a lieutenant.

The man is using the name Lt. Michael Harris or Lt. Robertson and is demanding payment via a GreenDot MoneyPak card or online money transfer.

Residents are asked to contact the Sheriff's Office to report this scam to further their investigation. 

BBB offers the following tips to avoid these and similar scams:

  • Do not give out your personal information to anyone over the phone.
  • Call the business or government agency directly if you believe there is an issue.
  • Do not return the phone call or press any buttons, even if directed to do so.
  • If you do provide banking or other private information, immediately contact your bank and notify them to protect accounts from fraud.
  • Never send a GreenDot MoneyPak card through the mail or give the number on the back – it is the same as cash and cannot be traced.
  • Start with Trust®. Check with before doing business or sending money.

The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.

The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.