The Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration, or
TIGTA, warns that crooks posing as Internal Revenue Service
officials are contacting people, claiming they owe taxes. The
caller demands a prepaid debit card, wire transfer or a credit
card number for payment. If the person doesn't comply, the
caller threatens to arrest or deport the target, or take away
their driver's license or business.
Thousands of victims have
lost money to these tax scam artists. But there are ways to
recognize them and foil their attempts to steal your money.
These scammers often:
Call you. But when the IRS contacts people about unpaid
taxes, they do it by postal mail, not by phone.
Use common names and fake IRS badge numbers.
Know the last four digits of your Social Security number.
Demand payment via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The
IRS doesn't ask for either of these payment methods, nor will
they ask for credit card numbers.
Rig caller ID information to appear as if the IRS really is
Send fake emails that look like legitimate IRS
Make a second call claiming to be the police or department of
motor vehicles, rigging the caller ID information.
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To protect yourself from imposters who call, claiming to be
from the IRS:
Don't provide any account or other personal information. Hang
up the phone.
Never wire money to a person or company you don't know. Once
you wire money, you can't get it back.
If you owe — or think you owe — federal taxes, call the IRS
at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment
questions. You also can visit the IRS website at
If you've already paid your taxes, call and report the
incident to TIGTA at 800-366-4484.
Forward emails from the IRS to
email@example.com. Don't open
any attachments or click on any links in those emails.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at
Include "IRS Telephone Scam" in your complaint.
[By LISA LAKE,
Federal Trade Commission;
published in FTC