Another tax scam: IRS imposters

January 29, 2015by Amy Hebert

Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

tax identity theft logoTax identity theft is the theme of the week, but it’s not the only tax scam we’re talking about. Complaints to the FTC about IRS imposter scams have shot up over the last year — by almost 50,000 complaints.

Here’s what happens: You get a call from a scammer pretending to be with the IRS, saying you’ll be arrested if you don’t pay taxes you owe right now. You’re told to wire it or put it on a prepaid debit card. They might threaten to deport you or say you’ll lose your driver’s license. Some even know your Social Security number, and they fake caller ID so you think it really is the IRS calling.

But it’s all a lie. If you send the money, it’s gone.

IRS Imposter Scams

IRS Imposter Scams Infographic

When you have a tax problem, the IRS will first contact you by mail. The IRS won’t ask you to wire money, pay with a prepaid debit card, or share your credit card information over the phone.

If you get a call like this, file a complaint with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at You also can file a complaint with the FTC at If you’re concerned there’s a real problem, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.

Want to help your friends and family? Share this infographic and get more information at

Tagged with: imposter, IRS, money transfer, scam, Social Security number
Blog Topics:
Privacy & Identity


MTC | January 29, 2015 |

this news letter is very helpful. I actually gotten two "fake IRS" calls in the last two months.

caught them | January 30, 2015 |

reply yes this was helpful, I received a message the IRS was filing a lawsuit against me. So I called the number back 206-201-2044. Yes they say they are the IRS and give a name and badge number. They tried to collect money, saying if I didn’t pay, they were going to send me to jail.. then they were going to transfer me to their manager, that is when I hung up.. and looked online..

Cheryl | February 5, 2015 |

reply I just received the same call with the same number…..I won’t return the call.

tmg | February 21, 2015 |

reply Received call threatening lawsuit from 281-303-0000.panicked for a minute and then started doing some online research as it just seemed odd that the first call I got was saying they were filing a lawsuit having heard nothing prior to this.

Spencer | February 26, 2015 |

reply I received the same call with the same number. They left a threatening message. I called my accountant and he said it was a scam.

victoria56 | April 26, 2015 |

reply I’ve been getting thousand of emails and I’m not sure what ones are real and what ones are fake some one please help me

Bridget Small | April 27, 2015 |

reply Some of those emails could be phishing emails – that’s when someone tries to trick you into giving out personal or financial information.

Don’t reply to email, text, or pop-up messages that ask for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links in the messages, even if the message seems to be from an organization you trust. A legitimate business won’t ask you to send sensitive information through insecure channels.

If you need to check on your accounts or need to reach an business, call the number on your financial statements or on the back of your credit card. Or, open your web browser, find the website, and contact the company.

DSG | May 15, 2015 |

reply I got the same call just today. I guess they did not realize they were calling an Enrolled Agent.

Grim_Knight | June 1, 2015 |

reply 206 area code is in Washington state heh.

JS | February 3, 2015 |

reply Got a"fake" call this morning from 585-861-2851 stating they were the IRS and left a computerized message with threats.

HJoy | April 2, 2015 |

reply I got two calls today, both left automated voicemails threatening that they were filing a lawsuit against me and that was my final warning- even though i heard no such thing previously. The first call was from 17255976534, which said to call 13608614117, then i got the second call and voicemail from the 13608614117 number saying essentially the same thing, then telling me to urgently call them back and that number and claimed to be from the office of Kevin White of the IRS.

wert | April 16, 2015 |

reply Got a call on April 14, same deal with filing a lawsuit. They said to call 3608075350. Did not call back. Wanted to pass on this info.

scamed | April 29, 2015 |

reply Just received voicemail from 202.684.6724 same thing.

Richard Naples | February 20, 2015 |

reply Today we received two fake IRS calls from the number 703-459-9484. The scammers used the name of an IRS Agent, Jason O’Connor, Badge #80995. The message was "You are about to be arrested if you do not pay your taxes". Fortunately the individual had a thick foreign accent, so it was clearly a fake call.

Try2scamme | March 6, 2015 |

reply They tried to scam me on this today. While I had this guy on the phone threatening me I was digging thru the IRS website looking for a number. found the 800 number but guess what…you can’t talk to a live person! Ridiculous! Luckily the scammer got mad at me said he was calling the police and hung-up.

Sc | March 11, 2015 |

reply I received a message in February 2015 saying I was being sued by the IRS, when I called the number and confronted them that it was a scam, they cursed me and hung up. The number they left as a call back was 206-569-4739. sivac

Mike D | March 26, 2015 |

reply Thanks everyone who posted. I usually don’t but I got a phone call as well. I looked up on line and this was defiantly the same thing all of you have had. Thanks again.

James B. | May 27, 2015 |

reply Me too… Thanks guys! Just received the same call…

OK Cindy | April 28, 2015 |

reply I have been getting calls all week with an automated message.When I call back it’s a thick British accent on the voice mail. The # is 302 262 9092. Very annoying!

bpinkylu | May 27, 2015 |

reply Me too scared the mess out of me saying I was involved in a federal lawsuit to call a 303 number right away!

Simon | May 1, 2015 |

reply I just received one of the same a computer generated lady with a British accent telling me to call 404-287-0590, comes up as Atlanta, GA but googled the number and it is from Wakefield, Ne. Thanks everyone for your posts, makes me feel better about not calling. Also makes you wonder how many people actually are duped.

jjonkins | May 1, 2015 |

reply got a robo call that the irs was suing me please call 509 587-4585 called back no answer just a scam

suspicious scam | June 2, 2015 |

reply I got the same type call from this number 509 588 7300. I figured it was a scam because the caller ID also read International.I returned the call but no one answered.

Bridget Small | June 2, 2015 |

reply When you get illegal sales calls or robocalls, it’s best to ignore them. Don’t interact in any way. Don’t press buttons to be taken off the call list or to talk to a live person or call back. That just leads to more calls. These are useful details for a complaint. Please report your experience at

Susan tribble | May 21, 2015 |

reply I gotten notices from Africa saying had 41million dollars they sending me then supposedly fbi sent me a notice saying confiscated the 4!million at airport .I know the name who sent me the scam


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