The phone scams involving the IRS continue to evolve.

In the latest iteration, the scammers program their phones to spoof the number of the IRS's Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) so that the call appears to come from the IRS.

How it works:

The criminal claims to be calling from a local TAC office stating that the taxpayer has a delinquent, outstanding tax bill and demands immediate payment. If the taxpayers questions the call, the scammer then directs the taxpayer to to 'verify' the phone number. The crook then hangs up to give the taxpayer a chance to visit the IRS website. After a short time, the scammer calls back, again spoofing the IRS phone number, and resumes demands for payment.

In at least one version of the scam, the criminal warns that if the taxpayer hangs-up, the IRS will send a sheriff to arrest the taxpayer within 72 hours. These scammers have also been known to spoof phone numbers of local sheriff's offices, state departments of motor vehicles as well as other federal and state government offices in an attempt to convince the taxpayer of the legitimacy of the call.

IRS employees at TAC offices do not make calls to taxpayers to demand payment of overdue tax bills.

Note that the IRS DOES NOT:

  • Demand that you use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS will not ask for your debit or credit card numbers over the phone. If you owe taxes, make payments to the United States Treasury or review for IRS online options.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes. You should also be advised of your rights as a taxpayer.
  • Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS cannot revoke your driver's license, business licenses, or immigration status. Threats like these are common tactics scam artists use to trick victims into buying into their schemes.

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