Five Tell-Tale Signs of a Scam Tax Call

Larry Villano, Publisher of

The IRS is again warning the public to be alert for telephone scams and offers. With the October 15 filing deadline approaching for those who filed an extension, phone tax scammers are probably chomping at the bit.

These callers claim to be with the IRS and often demand money to pay taxes. They may even know something about you. They will even go so far as to alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS calling. The caller will usually use a fake name and bogus IRS badge number. If you don't answer your phone, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Some scammers will try to convince you you're due a refund to gain access to your banking or other private financial information.

Five Signs of a Scam Tax Call

The IRS will never:

  1. Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  3. Require you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.

What To Do If You Get a Scam Call

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what to do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to talk about payment options. You also may be able to set up a payment plan online at
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to TIGTA at 1.800.366.4484 or at
  • If phone scammers target you, also contact the Federal Trade Commission at Use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” to report the scam. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.

Keep in mind, the IRS does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issues.