October 9, 2017

Calls from the IRS: Is It a Scam?

The phone rings. It’s the IRS calling — or is it?

The IRS put out a statement recently warning consumers of this:

“Taxpayers who get an unexpected or unsolicited phone call from the IRS should be wary – it’s probably a scam. Phone calls continue to be one of the most common ways that thieves try to get taxpayers to provide personal information. These scammers then use that information to gain access to the victim’s bank or other account.”

The IRS follows set rules about communicating with individuals. As a taxpayer, the IRS wants you to know their representatives will NEVER:

  • Call and demand immediate payment.
  • Call about a payment for which you have never received a bill.
  • Call and not allow you to question or negotiate — you always have payment plans available and other options to settle an IRS debt.
  • Call and require a certain form of payment (like a wire transfer or a pre-paid debit card).
  • Threaten a lawsuit or arrest for nonpayment.

If you receive a call and you don’t think it’s really the IRS calling, you can do the following things: Report the call through the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web site for incident reports. And/or, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission with the FTC Complaint Assistant website.

If you think you may really owe taxes, you don’t have to talk to the person who called you. You can ask for the IRS employee’s name and badge number, and call the IRS back at 1-800-829-1040 to be sure it really was an IRS representative on the other end of the phone.

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