< Back to Thought Leadership

Scam Calls Emails Using IRS as Bait

Scams using the IRS as a lure continue. They take many different forms. The most common scams are phone calls and emails from thieves who pretend to be from the IRS. They use the IRS name, logo or a fake website to try to steal your money. They may try to steal your identity too.

Be wary if you get an out-of-the-blue phone call or automated message from someone who claims to be from the IRS. Sometimes they say you owe money and must pay right away. Other times they say you are owed a refund and ask for your bank account information over the phone. Don’t fall for it. Here are several tips that will help you avoid becoming a scam victim.

The real IRS will NOT:

  • Call you to demand immediate payment. The IRS will not call you if you owe taxes without first sending you a bill in the mail.
  • Demand tax payment and not allow you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
  • Require that you pay your taxes a certain way. For example, demand that you pay with a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for your credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other agencies to arrest you without paying.
  • Threaten you with a lawsuit.

If you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you do:

  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page to report the incident.
  • You should also report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your report.

If you think you may owe taxes:

  • Ask for a call back number and an employee badge number.
  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS employees can help you.

In most cases, an IRS phishing scam is an unsolicited, bogus email that claims to come from the IRS. They often use fake refunds, phony tax bills, or threats of an audit. Some emails link to sham websites that look real. The scammers’ goal is to lure victims to give up their personal and financial information. If they get what they’re after, they use it to steal a victim’s money and their identity.

If you get a ‘phishing’ email, the IRS offers this advice:

  • Don’t reply to the message.
  • Don’t give out your personal or financial information.
  • Forward the email to phishing@irs.gov. Then delete it.
  • Don’t open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.

More information on how to report phishing or phone scams is available on IRS.gov.

Each and every taxpayer has a set of fundamental rights they should be aware of when dealing with the IRS. These are your Taxpayer Bill of Rights. Explore your rights and our obligations to protect them on IRS.gov.

Additional IRS Resources:
Identity Protection Tips
Identity Protection Home Page

IRS YouTube Videos:
• Tax Scams – English | Spanish | ASL
• Phishing-Malware – English | Spanish | ASL
• IRS Efforts On Identity Theft – English | Spanish | ASL
• IRS ID Theft FAQ – Going After the Bad Guys – English | Spanish | ASL

IRS Podcasts:
• Tax Scams – English | Spanish
• ID Theft: Protect Yourself from Identity Theft – English | Spanish
• IRS ID Theft FAQ – Going After the Bad Guys – English | Spanish

Read More Thought Leadership Articles Like what you read? Subscribe to our newsletter. Click Here.

Employer Tax Credits for Providing Paid Sick and Family Leave Related to COVID-19

The American Rescue Plan Act, enacted March 11, 2021, aims to deliver economic relief to families and workers. On April 21, President Biden announced a provision of the American Rescue Plan Act that allows eligible employers to claim refundable tax credits for providing emergency paid sick leave to employees who take time off for reasons […]

Learn More
Charity Reimbursement

Charity Reimbursement: Protecting it from Audit Scrutiny

There is a new audit trend coming down the pipeline that could impact your charity reimbursement for Medicare bad debt. In the past there was no enforcement of statements being sent to a charity patient before they were deemed indigent. Until a patient has been approved for charity, they are still deemed non-indigent. Auditors are […]

Learn More

HIPAA and Covered Entities

Anyone who works in the healthcare industry knows that their organization takes steps to protect patient health information under a series of guidelines known as HIPAA. There are several provisions to HIPAA that require organizations to use Federal guidelines to ensure digital health information is secure. Those provisions include: Privacy Rule Security Rule Enforcement Rule […]

Learn More