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Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2024

IRS once again issues tax scam warnings

Internal Revenue Service information

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service has issued a consumer alert providing taxpayers with additional tips to protect themselves from telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.

These callers may demand money or say taxpayers have a refund due and try to trick them into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about the person called, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If a person called doesn’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.

IRS logo 12-2013 “These telephone scams are being seen in every part of the country, and we urge people not to be deceived by these threatening phone calls,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said. “We have formal processes in place for people with tax issues. The IRS respects taxpayer rights, and these angry, shake-down calls are not how we do business.”

The IRS reminds people that they can know pretty easily when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a telltale sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

  • Call people about taxes they owe without first mailing them an official notice.
  • Demand that people pay taxes without giving them the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say is owed.
  • Require people to use a specific payment method for their taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have people arrested for not paying.

For those people who get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what they should do:

  • Those who know they owe taxes or think they might owe can call the IRS at 800.829.1040. The IRS workers can help with a payment issue.
  • Those who know they don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe they do should report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800.366.4484 or at
  • Those who have been targeted by this scam should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of the complaint.

Remember, too, the IRS does not use email, text messages or any social media to discuss a personal tax issue. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to and type “scam” in the search box.

Additional information about tax scams are available on IRS social media sites, including YouTube ( and Tumblr (, where people can search “scam” to find all the scam-related posts.

POSTED: 08/29/14 at 6:47 am. FILED UNDER: News