Here are some tips to help you protect yourself from telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.
These callers may demand money or say you have a refund due – either way, they will try to trick you into giving them your private information. They can sound very believable when they call. They may already know a lot about you, and they usually change the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and fake IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” message for you to call back.
Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do:
- Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
- Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
- Require you to pay using a prepaid debit card or another way that is unusual.
- Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Threaten to bring in local police or others to have you arrested for not paying.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:
- If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS workers can help you with a payment problem.
- If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at the TIGTA website.
- Use the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Complaint Assistant form for reporting imposters - like people who say they work for the IRS, but don’t. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
Remember: the IRS does not use email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issue.