IRS Imposter Scams

  • Amy

Imagine someone contacting you pretending they work for the IRS but they are trying to gather all your personal information for fraudulent activities or demand you wire money over. The imposter may contact you by phone, email, postal mail, or even a text message. Two common types of scams:

  1. Tax collection - You receive a phone call or letter, claiming that you owe taxes. They will demand that you pay the amount immediately often with a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may even threaten to arrest you if you don’t pay.
  2. Verification - You receive an email or text message that requires you to verify your personal information. The message often includes a hyperlink phrase “click here” or a button to a fraudulent form or website.

How to report IRS Imposter Scams?

Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) if you believe that an IRS imposter has contacted you. Report IRS imposter scams online or by calling TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484. Forward email messages that claim to be from the IRS to [email protected]

What can you do to prevent IRS imposter scams?

Do:

  • Beware if someone calls claiming to be from the IRS. The IRS will always contact you by mail before calling you about unpaid taxes.
  • Ask a caller to provide their name and badge number and callback number. Then call TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484 to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you. If the person legitimately is from the IRS, call them back. Otherwise report it to the IRS.
  • Become familiar with what fraudulent IRS email messages look like.
  • Verify the number of the letter, form, or notice on the IRS website.
  • Be suspicious of threats. The IRS won’t threaten to have police arrest you for not paying a bill.

Don’t:

  • Don’t give in to demands to pay money immediately. Be especially suspicious of demands to wire money or pay with a prepaid debit card.
  • Don’t trust the name or phone number on a caller ID display that shows “IRS.” Scammers often change the name that shows on caller ID.
  • Don’t click on any links in email or text messages to verify your information.

Video: Watch Out for IRS Imposter Scams