Hundreds of thousands of Americans have received phony phone calls purporting to be from the IRS. Scammers may demand payment for taxes owed or lure the unwary with promises of unexpected tax refunds. Like most con artists, tax fraudsters actually want access to financial accounts and sensitive personal information. The IRS has noted an uptick in over-the-phone tax scams and has the following tips:
- Fraudsters may know a lot about you when they call and may be able to spoof your caller ID to show that they are calling from an official number.
- If you don’t answer the phone, they may leave an urgent callback request.
- If you receive a call that you think might be from the IRS, take down the agent’s information and call them back at the official IRS hotline: 1-800-829-1040.
Remember, the IRS will never:
- Call you without mailing an official notice first.
- Demand that you immediately pay your taxes over the phone.
- Take a debit or credit card number over the phone.
- Threaten to call law enforcement or immigration services to arrest you for failure to pay.
If you believe that you (or someone you know) have been the victim of tax fraud, you can report the incident to TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov. You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” to report the scam. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
If you are worried about owing money to the IRS, contact a qualified tax expert or call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.