How to Avoid IRS Phone Scams

This January, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) announced they have received reports of roughly 896,000  IRS scam contacts since October 2013 and have become aware of over 5,000 victims who have collectively paid over $26.5 million as a result of the scam.  Taxpayers across the nation continue to face a deluge of aggressive phone calls from scammers.

The scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill. They con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via a phishing email.  

Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may even threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t get the money immediately.

You can avoid falling victim to a scammer by remembering these five points regarding how the IRS communicates with taxpayers:

1) The IRS will NEVER call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.

2) The IRS will NEVER demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.

3) The IRS will NEVER require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

4) The IRS will NEVER ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

5) The IRS will NEVER threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you receive a call from someone claiming you owe taxes do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.  Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.

If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax, then call the IRS at 800-829-1040.