The IRS recently reported that more than 10 million people have been targeted by phone scammers pretending to be tax collectors, charging up-front fees to avoid imaginary fines and penalties, or stealing personal information to steal money from the victims’ bank accounts. If you get one of these calls, do not engage with the caller and hang up immediately. This guide will teach you how to avoid IRS tax scam calls in order to protect yourself from falling victim to these IRS tax scam calls.
Common Types of IRS Tax Scam Calls
The best defense is an educated offense: know what kind of scams exist in order to avoid them at all costs. Educating yourself about the different kinds of IRS tax scams not only prevents you from getting scammed, but also ensures that nobody else falls victim to one either. Some common types of phone scams are Economic impact payment theft, Unemployment Fraud, Gift Card Scam, Refund Recalculation Scam and IRS Taxpayer Advocate Impersonation.
In the last year alone, over 3 million people have been tricked into giving their money away. The scammer will say that you owe taxes or that the IRS is coming for you. They will also threaten arrest if you don’t pay up immediately. Beware of any offers from the IRS (especially when it comes by way of phone call) because there’s a good chance it’s a scam. You can get your refund without ever speaking with anyone by visiting irs.gov/payments.
How to Avoid IRS Tax Scam Calls
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not call taxpayers about unpaid taxes. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here are some tips for what you should do to avoid being a victim of IRS tax scam calls:
- Be aware that scammers can use caller ID spoofing to make themselves look like an official IRS phone number. However, unlike the real IRS, these people won’t ask for your Social Security Number or other personal information over the phone.
- Don’t give out any information until you have spoken with a customer service representative and know that he or she is who they say they are. The IRS won’t ask for personal information such as bank account, credit card, or social security numbers over the phone.
- The IRS will never call and demand payment without first sending you a bill in the mail. If someone claiming to be from the IRS calls you and demands immediate payment, then hang up.
- Contact your local police department as soon as possible to file a report.
- One way to verify whether or not the person is really from the IRS is to hang up and contact the agency directly by dialing 800-829-1040.
- Install a call blocker to block scammer calls. Many call blocker apps have a database of spam phone numbers including these reported IRS scam callers. They can automatically identify these IRS scam calls and block them before they reach you.
How to report IRS scams
- Report IRS scams online at or by calling the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484.
- Forward email messages that claim to be from the IRS to email@example.com. Do not open the attachments or click on any links in those emails.
- File a complaint on FTC.gov.