LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - When a Lake Charles Police Department officer answered a scammer's phone call and identified himself as a police officer, the scammer responded by saying he was a police officer.
The actual officer was responding to a suspicious circumstances call at 10:47 a.m., Wednesday, said Lt. Richard Harrell, Lake Charles Police Department spokesman.
A 24-year-old man had received a call from a scammer with a foreign accent who said he was with an Internal Revenue Service agent and that the man owed the IRS $4,000. The caller told the man that if he refused to pay his outstanding debt, he would be arrested. He told the man to purchase some a prepaid card and call him back at a phone number he provided. The money would then be transferred to the suspect's private account.
The phone continued to ring while the officer was still with the man. The officer answered the call and identified himself as a LCPD officer and told the caller he was a fraud and instructed him not to call the man anymore.
Three or four minutes later, man's phone rang and the officer answered again. The caller identified himself as an active police lieutenant with the "Charles Lake Police Department" and again tried to extort money.
The officer told the suspect that he knew that the caller on the phone was not who he said he was and hung up a second time. Several minutes later the scammer called again. This time the caller told the LCPD officer that he was the initial responding officer and again tried to extort money.
"An obvious Internal Revenue Service (IRS) scam is active in this area and the criminals are claiming to be actual Police Officers of a local law-enforcement agency and utilizing active Police Officer name(s)," Harrell said.
"The IRS does not handle collections in this manner. If you received a phone call of this nature from an individual identifying themselves as an Agent of the Internal Revenue Service stating that you must pay an outstanding debit within a certain time by purchasing a prepaid card and giving them the prepaid card number, THIS IS A SCAM. Do not comply and notify your local law-enforcement agency."