Tax Time Brings New Phone Scams

Tax season is in full swing, and so are phone scams claiming to be from the IRS. Scam artists are using new tactics, and some will call saying they have your tax return and just need to verify a few details to process your return. The scammer will ask you for personal information such as a Social Security number or personal financial information, such as bank numbers or credit cards.

IRS Tax Scams

Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling and will impersonate IRS officials, demanding 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. They’ve even begun politely asking taxpayers to verify their identity over the phone. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.

If you’re unsure if a call you receive is a scam, keep in mind that the IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment over the phone, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you several bills.
  • Call or email you to verify your identity by asking for personal and financial information.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone or email.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

Steps to take if you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money or to verify your identity:

  • If you know that you owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040.

If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:

  • 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.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

The IRS reminds taxpayers to guard against all sorts of scams that continually change. Visit Tax Scams and Consumer Alerts on IRS.gov to stay updated on tax scams.