Beware of IRS Scams

Aggressive and threatening phone calls by criminals impersonating IRS agents remain a major threat to taxpayers. Recently, constituents have seen a surge of these phone scams as scam artists threaten police arrest, deportation, license revocation and other alarming things. Scammers make unsolicited calls claiming to be IRS officials. They demand that the victim pay a bogus tax bill to con the victim into sending cash, usually through a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. They may also leave “urgent” callback requests through phone “robo-calls,” or via a phishing email. Scammers often alter caller ID numbers to make it look like the IRS or another agency is calling. The callers use IRS titles and fake badge numbers to appear legitimate. They may use the victim’s name, address and other personal information to make the call sound official.

Protect Yourself
Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam as the IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your 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 you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

  • If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:
  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.

For more information on scams and protecting your personal identity, please read through this powerpoint from the Illinois Attorney General's office.