The IRS almost NEVER contacts taxpayers by phone. Their primary choice of communication is good old U.S. Postal Service. So if you ever get a phone call from someone purporting to be from the IRS, it might be a good idea to just hang up… seriously!
The only reason you should ever receive a phone call from anyone at the IRS is if:
- You’re currently involved in a dispute with them, AND;
- You’ve had a face-to-face meeting with an IRS agent wth whom you’ve actually shared your phone number.
Why? Simply put, the IRS is stretched super-thin. They’re underfunded and overwhelmed. As a result, most of their work is handled by computers. Their staff is has been cut by 14 percent while tax filings have increased 5 percent (Source: CBPP analysis of IRS, National Taxpayer Advocate, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and Congressional Budget Office data [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities]).
So if you’re playing by the rules and aren’t currently ensnared in a legal battle with them, the IRS will almost certainly not be calling you.
The scammers will try to scare you into action
If you choose to speak with someone who claims to be from the IRS, the script will probably go something like this…
- You owe money
- You need to pay now
- You need to pay with a specific payment method (such as a prepaid debit card or wire-transfer)
- Pay or you’ll be visited by the police and/or your we’ll take your belongings.
How to protect yourself
- Never give any personal information over the phone. This includes names, phone numbers, social security numbers, etc.)
- Never divulge your bank account information
- If you think you might owe money to the IRS, hang up the phone and call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-0922.
- If you think you might be getting scammed, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484.
Don’t be a victim.