Louisiana warns about COVID-19 scams

Louisiana is warning residents about the potential for scammers to steal money distributed by the federal government during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CARES Act that was signed into law Friday includes one-time payments for individuals and families. The Louisiana Department of Revenue says phishing scams are some of the most common fraud tactics and involve scammers trying to acquire personal information such as Social Security numbers.

“Neither the Louisiana Department of Revenue nor the IRS will contact any taxpayer to ask for personal information, and no government agency will charge a fee of any kind for the delivery of stimulus funds,” Secretary of Revenue Kimberly Lewis Robinson said in a news release.

The U.S. Department of Treasury has advised people not to respond to anyone claiming to be from the department asking for personal information in exchange for funds.

“If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond. These are scams,” according to a statement on the department’s website.

Louisiana residents who suspect they are victims of identity theft can report the crime to the police, report suspected fraud to the three major credit-reporting bureaus and submit a Louisiana Identity Theft Affidavit to the LDR Criminal Investigations Division.