IRS Phone Scam: How to Protect Yourself From IRS Telephone Fraud

Katie Oct 26

If you read the news we're sure that you've seen the stories regarding the IRS phone scam and the issues that the IRS has experienced with identity theft recently. You may have even gotten a call from someone posing as an IRS agent telling you that you owed on your taxes. Across the country Americans are receiving calls like this on a daily basis.

Why You Keep Getting Calls From IRS Scammers

Filing taxes

You yourself might know that you do not owe any back taxes and realize this is a scam when you get the call, but for many other Americans who do owe back taxes (roughly 8.2 million by 2009 estimates) a call from someone posing to be from the IRS and demanding that they pay, or face consequences, could shake them. Scammers have realized that there are billions of dollars at their access if they just reach the right people and can be convincing enough.

These scammers become more convincing with practice and have established networks of bank accounts and unknowing helpers throughout the U.S. making it easier for them to steal your money. The fraudulent tax refunds that were filed by hackers earlier this year and paid by the IRS have since been linked to Nigerian romance scammers. The scammers who were able to access IRS information are also many of the same romance scammers that stole over $86 million from Americans in 2014.

Online romance scammers will contact singles on dating sites and try to sweep them off their feet. The romantic minded will often be drawn in by the charming persona and become cogs in the scammer's network. It is now quite clear that in addition to romance scams many of these criminals are also responsible for IRS tax scams.

How to Protect Yourself From the IRS Phone Scam

In order to protect yourself from the IRS phone scam it's important to remember the following things.

  • The IRS will always first send you a bill informing you of the money you owe, they will never call to demand immediate payment.
  • The IRS will always give you the opportunity to appeal the taxes that you owe.
  • The IRS will not require you to pay back taxes in a specific way like with prepaid debit cards or via wire transfers.
  • The IRS will not threaten to have local police arrest you for not paying your taxes.

For more information we've created this guide with five easy steps to identify the IRS phone scam.

If you have fallen behind on taxes, the IRS offers many different options for paying back taxes. If you think you might owe taxes you can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to learn if you do owe money and find out more about their different payment options.

If you have been contacted by an IRS phone scammer you should report it to the the TIGTA at 1-800-366-4484 or at, as well as the Federal Trade Commission's FTC Complaint Assistant. In addition, you can 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.