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IRS phone scam: What to do if you get a scam call from the ‘IRS’



IRS scam call taxes
The IRS prefers snail

Alex Wong/Getty

  • IRS scam calls are a normal occurrence around tax
    season, unfortunately.
  • Every year, the IRS warns taxpayers to beware of a

    long list of tax scams
  • The latest phone scam alleges there is “fraud and
    misconduct” associated with your taxes and urges you to return
    the call “immediately.”

The IRS isn’t exactly modern.

If it needs to get in touch with a taxpayer, it sends a letter — not an
email, not a phone call, and definitely not a message over social
media. Especially in cases of
tax fraud

So when I got a voicemail admonishing me for supposed issues
with the
tax return I filed
 this year, I knew it had to be the
latest IRS phone scam.

A phone number from Washington, DC, called me and left a
voicemail when I didn’t answer.

It was an automated message that said:

“Time sensitive and urgent … we found that there was a fraud
and misconduct on your tax which you are hiding from federal
government. This needs to be rectified immediately, so please
return the call as soon as you receive the message.”

It told me to return the call to the same DC-area phone number
displayed on my caller ID. It’s pretty clear this was a scam
call, if not for the simple reason that the caller did not
identify themselves as someone from the IRS. Also, as previously
mentioned, the IRS prefers snail mail.

This is a sophisticated step in the latest tax scam Americans
need to watch out for, according to the IRS. Scammers
file a fake tax return with stolen personal information, like
your Social Security number, and then use actual bank account
information to have the refund deposited into your own account.

Then they call to collect, posing as the IRS or debt collectors
demanding the return of the fraudulent tax refund. In some cases,
the caller threatens criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant,
and to “blacklist” the taxpayer’s Social Security Number.

What to do if you receive an IRS scam call or a fraudulent tax

Never return a phone call from someone claiming to be with the
IRS. Instead, individuals should call the IRS directly at
800-829-1040, and businesses should call 800-829-4933.

The US Department of Justice says the IRS never
discusses personal tax issues
through unsolicited emails or
texts, or over social media. Always be wary if you are contacted
by someone claiming to be from the IRS who says you owe money.

If you receive an unexpected and suspicious email from the IRS,
forward it to [email protected].

If you think you are a victim of identity theft or tax fraud, you
should report it to the Treasury
Inspector General for Tax Administration. The IRS also has
detailed instructions on what to do if you are a victim of
tax fraud
. Taxpayers who receive a fraudulent tax refund
should follow IRS guidelines for returning the

File as soon as possible to protect against other IRS scams

Since tax season presents plenty of opportunity for would-be
identity thieves, the best way to protect against these IRS scam
calls and other tax scams — especially potential identity theft —
is to
file your tax return
as soon as possible, after you receive
your tax forms from your employer in January.

The IRS says the fastest way to get your tax
is the method already used by most taxpayers: filing
electronically and selecting direct deposit as the method for
receiving your refund.

Popular online tax services like TurboTax and H&R Block are easy to use,
even for tax novices. If you
plan to visit an accountant, make an appointment early to avoid
the rush.

The IRS says direct deposit — which the government also uses for
Social Security and Veterans Affairs payments — is “simple, safe, and secure.”

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