IRS issues consumer alert for telephone scam artists

Published 5:14 pm Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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

The callers may demand money or may say an individual has a refund due, and try to trick individuals into sharing private information.

These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you, 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 an individual does not answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.

“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,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen in a release. “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 easily when a supposed IRS caller is “fake.”

There are five things the scammers often do, but the IRS will not do.

Any of the five things is a sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

1. Call about taxes individuals owe without first mailing an official notice.

2. Demand that an individual pay taxes without giving them the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say the person owes.

3. Require individuals to use a specific payment method for taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have individuals arrested for not paying.

Anyone who receives a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money should call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040.

The IRS does not use email, text messages or any social media to discuss personal tax issues.

For more information on reporting tax scams, go to and type “scam” in the search box.