I got a call from the IRS demanding money. Is this a scam?
Yes. In this widespread phone scam, the caller, often with an overseas accent, claims to be from the IRS and demands immediate payment of so-called "back taxes."
When challenged, the caller can become hostile and abusive, threatening the victim with jail time, deportation, license suspension, and other alarming actions.
So far, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received 90,000 complaints about this scam, now known as the "IRS Impersonation Scam," and to date the scam's perpetrators have stolen an estimated $5 million from over a thousand victims.
Don't become the next victim of the fake IRS, no matter how legitimate they sound over the phone.
- The real IRS will always first contact you by mail if you really do owe back taxes.
- The real IRS never asks for immediate payment over the phone, nor do they insist on a particular form of payment.
- The real IRS always treats you professionally and courteously.
If you are unsure if you have an unpaid tax debt from a previous year, you can go to www.irs.gov/balancedue . If the account balance says zero, it means nothing is due and you typically wouldn't be getting a contact from the IRS or a private collection agency.
To report this scam, fill out this form at the TIGTA website.