6 ways to tell if an IRS call is a scam



Those tricky IRS scammers are still out there; we first noticed this phenomenon a few years ago, and the IRS noticed as well. And it hasn't stopped.  In this article, we have listed six things to listen for when you get a call from someone who claims to be from the IRS.


#1: The call. The IRS says they never call. This is not exactly 100% true. But only 1 out of every 10,000 calls will be legitimate. The fact that someone is actually calling you is a great clue that someone might be trying to scam you. Have your guard up and you BS meter powered-up.


#2 The accent. The IRS does not have called center in India. They have one in Puerto Rico, but there, as you would imagine, they probably have Spanish accents.


#3 They demand you to pay in full a tax bill you never received notice of. You always receive notice first by US mail (well, unless you move).

#4 They want you to pay by credit card. The IRS doesn't accept credit cards (Imagine the frequent flier miles if they did!). If you do wish to pay an IRS tax bill by credit card you must you a third party service.


#5 They get testy real quick when you challenge them on their authority or ask them for their ID number. Every real IRS employee has an ID number. They are supposed to give it to you first thing. And they usually don't swear at you when you ask them for their ID number or at which office they work.


#6 They threaten to send the police to come and get you if you don't pay them. These scammers aren't aware of some of the intricacies of US law. The IRS does not direct local "police" to do anything. The IRS Criminal Investigation Division will use the US Federal Marshall Service or perhaps an IRS Special Agent to arrest you, not the local police. And usually there has been a criminal investigation you have been 100% aware of — so there are few surprising tax-related arrests.


This list is not exhaustive; there are more "tells" to determine if a call is a scam. Not all IRS scam calls are so obvious, some may involve smooth talkers who call you "doll," "baby," or even "sugar."


An IRS call is usually not a scam when you are expecting from a specific person for a particular at the IRS (like when you requested a tax appeal), so you might want to pay attention to those.


Also, these scammers are always adapting and evolving. There is no agency more feared and less understood than the IRS. So expect scam calls to be an ever growing field. Click here to read how the IRS will actually reach out to contact you.


What we all need to do, is stay on top of these scammers. We learn so much valuable information every day from our visitors and clients. If you come across something new that seems kind of scammy, please tell us about it by sending an email to info@irsmedic.com. You'll be doing everyone a favor. Well, everyone but these IRS scammers.


The IRS says to take the following steps if you receive one of these calls:


If you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to think that you do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.


If you know you owe, or think you may owe tax:

  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you.


If you do have a tax issue that's making you nervous, contact us. We can help.