IRS Phone Scam: Did the IRS just call me? Am I under investigation?

By Karen S. Carter

IRS Phone Scam: Did the IRS just call me? Am I under investigation?

Lately, scammers have been swamping cell phones with calls. One claims to be from the IRS and that you are under investigation for tax fraud. It is a recorded message, but if you listen until the end you might get a real person.

First, the IRS does not call anybody out of the blue. These things are not usually a surprise. The IRS sends you a notice in the mail at least once, so you know they want to talk to you. The calls are coming from scammers trying to collect your personal information.

The IRS also does not email you first when trying to get a hold of you. Do not reply to these emails. When you check the email addresses they are usually fake. IRS employees all have email addresses that end in

They also do not send text messages or contact people through social media like Facebook or Twitter. The fraudsters are impersonating government agents and agencies to try to get you to reveal details about yourself.

The messages and phone calls will claim they tried to send you a notice in the U.S. mail, but that is not true.

Most phone calls from an IRS agent are usually a confirmation of the appointment they made with you through the mail.

Secondly, the IRS has all your information from your tax records, so you do not give out any of that information.

Also, the fraudsters will request a payment to get you out of trouble with the IRS. When the IRS asks for payment on back taxes they will show up at your door with proper documentation. The agent will have two forms of official credentials: a pocket commission and a personal identity verification credential. The revenue offices will request payment to the U.S. Treasury, not to John Smith Debt Collector or any other place.

Lastly, when a scam recording asks you to push a button to leave a message, talk to an agent, or be removed from their call list: DON'T. Scammers do not have "do not call lists." It just proves to the scammer that they got a hold of a live person and they will try your number more often. It is best to hang up and block the number.