IRS Survey Call: Phone Scam Overview
Survey calls are a constant annoyance and can be dangerous. Giving your information out during a survey call that's not legitimate can put you at risk of having your information sold to third parties or your identity being stolen.
Scammers often pose as survey takers and will call pretending to be a government official taking a survey. By claiming to be conducting a survey these calls are allowed under the Do Not Call list. In some cases, these survey scammers will identify themselves as the IRS and will used spoofed phone numbers to back up their claims.
How the IRS Survey Scam Works
IRS phone scams have been around for quite some time and have become a major problem. In fact, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) the tactics of phone scammers have conned nearly 4,550 victims out of a collective $23 million since October 2013.
Though many U.S. citizens are aware of IRS impersonator scams, not so many are aware of the IRS survey scam. Scammers developed the survey scam to continue to defraud and steal information from Americans.
The caller states that they are an IRS official taking surveys. Before asking any questions, the caller states that they need to confirm the respondent's identity to proceed. They'll ask their victim to verify their Social Security number, birth date, and taxpayer identification number.
Everyone should be wary about providing such information. Your identity and financial accounts may be at risk if you give this information away.
How to Protect Yourself From the Scam
Criminals often pretend to be government officials to sound more believable and get around the Do Not Call list. However, there are several warning signs. Here are some things to keep in mind.
The IRS doesn't cold call
The IRS will never call you unsolicited. The only reason that you will be contacted by phone by an IRS agent is if you have already contacted them and have an open case with them.
Personal information is unnecessary
Never give your personal information over the phone, regardless who claims to be on the other end. Keep in mind that surveys are anonymous, including IRS surveys. The only information a survey taker requests should be non-identifying, information such as your age-range, spending habits, etc.
The best way to avoid potential survey scams, like this one, is to avoid participating in phone surveys. Surveys will often sell information to third-parties and it can be difficult to identify whether or not they are legitimate.
How to Report the Scam
If you have been contacted by a person claiming to be conducting an IRS survey you should report it to the the TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484 or at www.tigta.gov, as well as the Federal Trade Commission's FTC Complaint Assistant.
You can also help warn others by leaving your feedback on scam phone numbers in our reverse phone number lookup app for iPhone. If you don't have an iPhone, you can still run reverse number lookups on our website and leave your feedback to help others avoid scams.