Have you ever received a threatening call from the “IRS” demanding that you immediately pay your taxes? Or maybe you received a voicemail from the “IRS” where they told you to call you back at a specific number? Sadly, you probably have. IRS phone scams are becoming more common every day. This guide will show you how to stay safe and prevent scammers from taking advantage of you.
If you do receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, the safest thing is to hang-up, and then contact the IRS yourself. Do not trust your caller ID. Just because the number displayed on caller ID is the official IRS phone number doesn’t mean that you are speaking to the IRS. Scammers can spoof their number and make it appear that they are calling from any number (even a government number like the IRS’s phone number). It is always your best option to hang up and call back using an official IRS phone number.
The IRS commonly does contact people via phone, but they will not contact you for anything except to ask to schedule an appointment via phone or at an IRS office. Here is a list of the things that scammers do but the IRS will never do.
- Aggressively harass you over the phone while demanding immediate payment
- Tell you that you cannot contact a tax attorney or visit an IRS office before payment
- Threaten to have the police arrest you and your family
- Ask for credit card or bank details over the phone unless you have stated that you want to provide them as a means of payment
- Accept payment via gift cards, bank wire transfers, PayPal, Western Union, or any other online payment provider. The IRS does accept payment via direct debit from a bank account, paycheck deduction, debit card, credit card, and check. This list may not be entirely up to date. Please check the IRS website for more information.
800-829-1040 - Individual and joint tax filers
800-829-4933 - Businesses
800-829-3676 - Tax form assistance
800-829-1954 - Tax refunds
877-777-4778 - Help line
866-699-4083 - Estate tax and gifts
800-829-4059 - Hearing impairment assistance
888-912-1227 - Give suggestions on improving the IRS