WASHINGTON — “Taxpayers should be on the lookout for unexpected and aggressive phone calls purportedly coming from the IRS,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “These calls can feature scam artists aggressively ordering immediate payment and making threats against a person. Don’t fall for these.”
Scams often involve phone calls threatening arrest, deportation or license revocation, if the victim doesn’t pay a bogus tax bill. These con artists may have some of the taxpayer’s information, including their address, the last four digits of their Social Security number or other personal details.
How do the scams work?
Criminals make unsolicited calls and leave voicemails with urgent callback requests claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill by sending cash through a wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift card.
The IRS also reminds taxpayers that scammers often change tactics.
Here are some things the scammers often do, but the IRS will not do. Taxpayers should remember that any one of these is a tell-tale sign of a scam.
The IRS will never:
Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes.
Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
Call about an unexpected refund.
For taxpayers who don’t owe taxes or don’t think they do:
Please report IRS or Treasury-related fraudulent calls to email@example.com (Subject: IRS Phone Scam).
Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately. The longer the con artist is engaged; the more opportunity he/she believes exists, potentially prompting more calls.
Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page. Alternatively, call 800-366-4484.
Report it 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.
View tax account online. Taxpayers can see their past 24 months of payment history, payoff amount and balance of each tax year owed.
Stay alert to scams that use the IRS or other legitimate companies and agencies as a lure. Tax scams can happen any time of year, not just at tax time. For more information visit Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts on IRS.gov.