targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country.
Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or
wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension
of a business or driver's license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.
"This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country. We want to educate taxpayers so they can
help protect themselves. Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor
request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer," says IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. "If someone
unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if
you don't pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn&rsq uo;t the IRS calling." Werfel noted that the first IRS
contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur via mail
Other characteristics of this scam include:
- Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to
- Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security Number.
- Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it's the IRS calling.
- Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.
- Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.
- After threatening victims with jail time or driver's license revocation, scammers hang up and others
soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.
- If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 . The IRS
employees at that line can help you with a payment issue - if there really is such an issue.
- If you know you don't owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you've
never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the
incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484 .
- If you've been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use
their "FTC Complaint Assistant " at FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of
(such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS
does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personalor financial information. This includes any
type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask
for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts.
Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message.
Instead, forward the e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS is available on the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov.