IRS Scams

Visit the IRS website for additional information on common IRS scams and what to do.

Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals.

The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information. Recognize the telltale signs of a scam. See also: How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door.

Tax Preparer Phishing Scam

A bogus email asks tax professionals to update their IRS e-services portal information and Electronic Filing Identification Numbers (EFINs). The links that are provided in the bogus email appear to be a phishing scheme designed to capture your username and password. This email was not generated by the IRS e-services program.

What to Do

Disregard this email and do not click on the links provided.

IRS Impersonation Telephone Scam

An aggressive and sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, has been making the rounds throughout the country.

Nature of the Phone Call

Callers claim to be employees of the IRS, but are not. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. They may know a lot about their targets, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling.

What the Scammer Requests

Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a preloaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. If the phone isn't answered, the scammers often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Refund Variation

In another variation, victims may be told they have a refund due to try to trick them into sharing private information.

IRS Policy & Actions

Note that the IRS will never do the following:

  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone
  • Call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill
  • Call to demand immediate payment
  • 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
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying

What to Do

Do not give them the information and do not call back a number they provide. The number they provide will be the scammer's phone number, even if they sound very professional. If you want to make sure if the call was legitimate, look up the IRS number on your own and speak with someone.

More Scams

To see more IRS scams visit the IRS scams webpage.