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Why is the IRS calling me? (HINT: It's a SCAM)

If the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) is calling you without context and asking for your private information, hang up. The I.R.S. never uses a phone call as the first mode of contact. As stated on their website, the I.R.S. uses the U.S. Postal Service to deliver official messages.


These scams are increasing in number. The I.R.S. is reporting that fraudulent calls from people claiming to be part of the I.R.S. are increasing in volume. In August of 2014, the I.R.S. reported that they had received 90,000 complaints with nearly 1,100 victims with a loss of $5 million. The New York Times updated that report in February of 2015, reporting that the I.R.S. had received nearly 290,000 complaints regarding scams with nearly 3,000 victims and more than $14 million lost.


The phone calls or emails from someone claiming to be the I.R.S. are the first sign of a scam. The I.R.S. will never ask for credit card information or ask for immediate payment. Fake names and fake badge numbers are often used. These scammers may know the last four digits of your Social Security number and try to use it as proof of their identity. Some, according to the I.R.S. website, even follow-up with an email to support their scam. These calls often become aggressive, using threats of jail time or driver’s license revocation, and some even call back impersonating local police or DMV officials.


Once you receive one of these calls, you should take action.

  • If you think you owe taxes, call the I.R.S. at 1-800-829-1040 to arrange a payment.

  • If you do not owe taxes, call The Treasury Inspector General Administration (T.I.G.T.A.) at 1-800-366-4484.

  • You may also visit the FTC Complaint Assistant to file a complaint. File under “other” and then “Imposter Scams”. From the I.R.S. tumblr:

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