The phone rings and when you pick up a recorded voice says something like the following: "This is Fernando Hernandez. I work with the IRS and our records show that you owe XXX dollars in back taxes. Unless you pay us immediately, you could go to jail and lose your house."
Hang up the phone. The call is scam.
Tens of thousands of Americans have been receiving fake IRS collection calls demanding money or seeking private financial information. Some of the con artists making these calls are quite sophisticated. Some use altered caller IDs to make it look like they're calling from the IRS or other government agencies. They use fake names and often have bogus IRS badge numbers. They may even know the last four numbers of your Social Security number.
The scammers may use either a carrot or stick approach. For example, they may make threats that you'll go to jail or have your driver's license revoked if you don't pay. They then hang up and have others call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV. Alternatively, the caller may say you're due a tax refund and ask for your bank account number so it can be deposited to your account.
The IRS says there are five easy ways to spot a scam phone call. The IRS will never:
Remember, the IRS will never call you without first sending you one or more notices in the mail. Nor does the IRS send unsolicited email, text messages, or communication by any social media to taxpayers to discuss their tax issues.
If you get a scam phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money or your personal financial information, here's what the IRS says you should do:
You can find information about all types of phone scams at www.scamcallfighters.com.