Despite repeated warnings from the IRS, taxpayers continue to fall victim to this scam: Criminals claiming to be IRS officials make unsolicited phone calls and demand payment of a bogus tax bill. They con victims into providing personal information and sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.
Many phone scams use threats to intimidate and bully a victim into paying. They may threaten to arrest, deport or revoke the license of their victim if they don’t send the money.
Scammers often alter caller ID to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. They may also use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate, as well as the victim’s name, address and other personal information.
Some schemes provide an actual IRS address where the victim is instructed to mail a receipt for the payment. Others use emails containing fake IRS documents or official IRS letterhead in emails or regular mail sent to their victims.
If you owe taxes, the IRS will not call you without first sending you a bill in the mail. They will never demand that you pay your taxes a certain way or ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
To date there have been over 736,000 scam contacts and victims have collectively paid over $23 million. If you get a call, do not give out any information and hang up immediately.
To report a phone scam, contact the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax
Administration (TIGTA) using the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting webpage or call 800-366- 4484.