Taxpayer Beware: Is That the IRS Calling or a Scammer?

taxpayer scamThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) might communicate with you by telephone, correspondence, or meet you in person as part of a civil or criminal tax audit. How do you know you are not being scammed?


Being scammed on the phone, online, or in person is easy. Even the best-intentioned can fall prey to a phone call or email.


Scammers looking to obtain personal information or money impersonate officials in regulatory agencies like law enforcement and the IRS. If you have dealings with the IRS, it is a good idea to understand how the IRS might contact you and what their work entails. Consider these points:

  • Anyone who works is aware of the IRS, the payment of taxes, and the possibility of a collection action. If you owe a tax liability to the IRS, you will likely first receive a series of notices to ensure you are aware of the debt. Ignoring the notices does not slow, and can speed up the collection process and seizure of your property. The notices will include a telephone number to call and confirm.
  • A revenue officer may be assigned to reach you over the phone to discuss the matter. Revenue officers usually schedule appointments for meetings. Revenue officers carry two forms of ID, including credentials and an HSPD-12 card, which is the standard ID for a federal employee. Revenue officers may request payment through IRS-specific guidelines.
  • During an IRS criminal tax investigation, a revenue agent may make an unannounced visit, but you will not be asked for payment of any kind.


Be aware of scams used by IRS impersonators who attempt to extort money from taxpayers. Below are actions the IRS does not take when collecting a tax liability or when reaching out to a taxpayer:

  • The IRS will not threaten to call law enforcement, immigration, or other agencies, or threaten to have you arrested.
  • The IRS does not use text messaging or social media to connect with a taxpayer.
  • The IRS will not require a taxpayer to pay via a gift card or prepaid debit card.
  • The IRS will not demand payment for a tax liability without time and opportunity to appeal or question the amount you owe.


People are scammed every day. Make sure you are not one of them. If you are contacted by the IRS by mail, phone, or in person, ask for official identification. If you deal with someone you believe is an IRS impersonator, connect with the IRS or call 800-366-4484 to report an IRS scam.


Experienced legal representation on criminal tax matters and business compliance

The tax attorneys at Robert J. Fedor, Esq., LLC help individuals and corporations nationwide and abroad respond to allegations of tax crime, IRS audits, and compliance questions. When you need skilled legal advice, contact us or call 800-579-0997. We have offices in Cleveland and Chicago.


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