Protect Yourself from IRS Telephone Scams

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By Angelita Chavez

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) telephone scams are becoming increasingly common. Scam callers pretend to be from the IRS, and they typically intimidate callers by:

  • Threatening arrest
  • Demanding immediate payment

It is important to learn how to identify an IRS scam call to protect yourself from abuse.

What is a Telephone Scam?

Telephone scam callers pretend to be from a legitimate source to take money from their victims. Scammers often make the caller ID look like the call is coming from a government agency. Other times, scam callers may purport to call from your bank or credit card company.

How to Recognize IRS Telephone Scams

It is important to know that the IRS does NOT:

  • Call taxpayers or demand immediate payment
  • Threaten or intimidate you
  • Demand prepaid debit card or credit card information over the phone for payment
  • Threaten to call the police or immigration agents

How Do I Protect Myself? 

If the caller claims to be from your bank, hang up and call the number on your bank statements or the back of your credit card to verify the call is legitimate.

What to Do if the Caller Says They are from the IRS

  • Hang up the phone
  • Block the telephone number
  • Do not answer or engage with the scam caller
  • Do not provide credit card or debit information over the phone
  • Do not send money to scammers

IRS telephone scammers are aggressive, relentless and target the vulnerable. You can report these scam calls to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 800-366-4484 or visiting as well as the Federal Trade Commission at

Sources & Resources:

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