Did I Get A Legitimate Call From The IRS?

Marshall Rathmell |


Many of us have now seen phony emails purported to be from the executors of the estate of a Nigerian prince or other obscure foreign notables who want to give you millions of dollars. These days, one of the most effective and dangerous telephone scams involves what appears to be a caller from the Internal Revenue Service. The bogus IRS agent wants to verify your tax information so your forms can be processed or informs that you owe money to the IRS. The scam artists may say that they’re looking at your tax return, and need a few additional bits of information. Some scammers may know and recite the last four digits of your Social Security number. This debt, you are told, must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If you refuse to cooperate (which you should), you may be threatened with arrest, suspension of a driver’s license or some similar penalty.

The goal, of course, is to scare you enough so that you’ll make a payment so the federal authorities leave you alone, or give up personal data such as your Social Security number, bank accounts or credit card information that can then be used for identity theft.

In all, the IRS says that 5,000 victims have collectively paid over $26.5 million to fraudulent IRS scammers.

The IRS has assured the public that it never asks for credit card information over the phone, and it never requests prepaid debit card or wire transfer payments. The IRS never asks for you to divulge personal information by phone or email, or demands payments without giving you an opportunity to appeal the amount they say you owe.

If you receive a call that threatens police action and demands immediate payment, it is an immediate indication that the caller does not represent the IRS. Generally taxpayers who have legitimate tax issues are contacted by mail.

If you do receive one of these fraudulent calls, you can report it to the Treasury Inspector General at 800-366-4484. If you get an email that purports to be from the IRS, do not click on any attachments. Instead, forward the email to phishing@IRS.gov.

-Justin Ladden-

Some of the above information was provided by Bob Veres “Inside Information”