IRS Phone Scams

Criminals are impersonating IRS agents and making aggressive and threatening phone calls to taxpayers.

phone-scam-150x150During filing season, the IRS sees a surge in scam phone calls that threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other things. Be on guard against these con games that happen throughout the year, especially during tax season.

“Don’t be fooled by phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents with threats or promises of a big refund if you provide them with your private information,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “If you’re surprised to get a call from the IRS, it almost certainly isn’t the real IRS. We generally initially contact taxpayers by mail.”

“Everyone can share the word about scam phone calls– just hang up and don’t engage these people,” Koskinen said. “Despite recent successes against phone scam artists, these scams constantly evolve and people need to remain vigilant. We’d like to thank law-enforcement, tax professionals, consumer advocates, the states, other government agencies, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and many others for helping us continue this fight and protect taxpayers.”

How do the scams work?

Scammers call claiming to be IRS agents or officials. They demand that you pay a bogus tax bill. They con you into sending cash, usually through Western Union or a prepaid card. They also leave “urgent” callback requests by phone or email.

Scammers can alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use IRS employee titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They will your name, address and other personal information to make the call seem official.

The IRS will never call you and demand payment by a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer.

The IRS will never threaten to bring in local police or to have the you arrested for not paying.

The IRS will never Demand that taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.

The IRS will never ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

Any one of these things is the sign of a scam.

If you who don’t owe taxes or don’t think you do, do not give out any information and hang up immediately.

Call 800-366-4484 to report the scam or use the “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page.

Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

For those who owe taxes or think they do, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with a payment plan.

If you are not satisfied with the IRS arrangements, call Frank Coxwell at 601-948-4450. Bankruptcy has several options to help you deal with state and federal taxes. Certain taxes can even be discharged in bankruptcy.

Be alert to scam calls and emails that use pretend to be the IRS. Tax scams happen year round, not just during tax season. For more information, visit the “Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts” page on IRS.gov.

Every taxpayer has fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. This is called your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and the IRS’s obligations to protect your rights on IRS.gov.