IRS Warns Public of Aggressive Telephone Scam

By: Millie Warren Email
By: Millie Warren Email

 Characteristics of the scam: 

Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves.

Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security number.

Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling.

Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls.

Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site.

After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

What to do if you receive a call similar to this: 

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.

If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.

RENO, NV - The IRS is warning consumers to be on guard against "sophisticated and aggressive" phone scams that are targeting taxpayers and recent immigrants.

The IRS says this scam continues to rise nationwide, as reported incidents increase. They say it is likely this scam won't end with the filing season, so everyone is reminded to stay on guard.

Potential victims receive a phone call with the caller saying they're either entitled to a big refund, or that they owe money that must be paid immediately to the IRS, according to the IRS. If the caller is unsuccessful the first time, they may call back with a new strategy.

The scam includes threatening potential victims with deportation, arrests, having their utilities shut off, or having their driver's license revoked, according to the IRS.

The IRS says callers insult and become hostile to potential victims.

The IRS says it will always send taxpayers a written notification of any tax due via the U.S. mail. The IRS never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone. For more information or to report a scam, go to and type "scam" in the search box.

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