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Beware of an IRS Phone Scam

Written by Warren Averett on December 17, 2014

The IRS is warning the public of a malicious phone scam that is claiming victims all across the country. The fraudulent callers are claiming to be from the IRS and demand an immediate payment of taxes by a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. If the potential victim refuses to cooperate, he or she is then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. According the IRS, the con artists are demanding and convincing; using fake names and IRS identification badge numbers, as well as altering the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. In most cases, if the phone isn’t answered, the fraudulent caller often leaves an “urgent” callback request.

Reporting an IRS Phone Scam

According to, if you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 1.800.829.1040. 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 1.800.366.4484.
  • You can file a complaint using the FTC Complaint Assistant; choose “Other” and then “Imposter Scams.” If the complaint involves someone impersonating the IRS, include the words “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

The IRS encourages taxpayers to be cautious against phone and email scams. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information, nor will they call to demand immediate payment for taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill. The IRS also does not demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe, or require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.

Contact your Warren Averett Advisor if you have any additional questions about this information.


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