Five Ways to Catch an IRS Phone Scam

Are you receiving suspicious phone calls? People claiming they are they are the IRS and demanding money? 

The IRS has listed phone scams as one of the most prevalent tax scams underway today. Taxpayers are receiving aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents. The callers may demand money or even promise a refund to trick you into sharing private and personal information. During filing season, there is an uptick of complaints reporting phone scammers who are threatening arrest, deportation, license revocation, and other things. 

Telephone scams are being reported in every part of the country, including right here in Stockton. Scammers change their caller ID information, and use fake names and IRS badge numbers to appear authentic. They leave messages regarding demanding callbacks. They target the elderly, newly arrived immigrants, and non-English speakers knowing their vulnerability. They have even posed as IRS Criminal Investigation agents. 

But the IRS reminds people how easy it is to spot a fraud. According to the IRS, watch out for these five things scammers do but the IRS will not:

  1. Scammers will call to demand immediate payment or about taxes owed. The IRS will always mail a bill first.
  2. Claim that there are unpaid taxes without giving you a chance to appeal or question the said amount.
  3. Insist on using a specific payment method for your taxes, like a prepaid debit card. 
  4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  5. Threaten to contact the local police or law enforcement to have you arrested for failure to pay.

If you do receive a fraud phone call, you should call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040 and they can help with a payment issue. Report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484 or at You should also file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” then “Imposter Scams.” Use the “IRS Telephone Scam” in notes. 

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