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IRS Impersonation Scams

The IRS recently posted warnings about new and ongoing scams where the perpetrators pose as IRS personnel, or representatives of other government agencies like the Social Security Administration or Medicare. They may also claim to represent charities, tax service businesses or familiar companies. The scammers typically contact people by phone, text, email or social media message, and employ tactics like:

  • Fabricating scenarios that require an urgent response: The scammer may claim that the person owes the IRS money, or must pay a fee to claim a tax refund or prize.
  • Pressuring people to act quickly: Scammers may threaten immediate arrest, deportation or other dire consequences to scare people into acting before they have time to think.
  • Demanding hard-to-track payment forms or sensitive data: Many scammers insist on being paid in gift cards or cryptocurrency, or via wire transfer. They might also engage in identity theft by seeking information like birth dates and Social Security numbers (SSNs).

Actual IRS personnel do not initially contact people via email, text or social media about tax bills or refunds. Most often, the IRS first sends a letter through the mail. In the rare cases when IRS personnel do reach out by phone, they do not demand immediate payment in a specific form, and do not request SSNs or other sensitive data (they already have it). If you are unsure whether a call or message supposedly from the IRS is legitimate, hang up or delete the message. Then call the IRS directly (phone numbers below) for more information.

IRS Taxpayer Service Phone Numbers: 800-829-1040 or TTY/TDD 800-829-4059