Five Ways to Spot a Tax Scam Phone Call

Phone ScamAs tax filing season begins, make sure you keep an eye (or ear) out for the latest phone scams. Someone claiming to be from the IRS may call you and demand money to pay taxes, or trick you into thinking that you’re owed a refund.

Whatever a scammer says, their goal is always the same: to pressure you into giving them money or personal information.

These five IRS tips will help you spot a scam phone call.

  1. Call you to demand immediate payment. We will not call about taxes you owe without first mailing you a bill.
  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  3. Require you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.

The practical way is not to answer incoming calls that you don’t know.

For information on protecting yourself from other phone scams, go to

Updated: February 2, 2016

With tax season swinging into full gear, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released a series of tips intended to increase public awareness of how to protect your personal and financial data online and at home. During tax season, Americans are sharing an increased amount of personal information online, creating a prime opportunity for criminals to access and steal sensitive information to commit fraud. It is critical for all Americans to take steps to safeguard their information.

New tips are released by the IRS each Monday and will continue through the April tax deadline.

Here are a few quick tips from the IRS:

  • Only give personal information over encrypted websites. Treat your personal information like cash – don’t hand it out to just anyone.
  • Keep your tax records safe and secure, whether they are stored on paper or kept electronically. The same is true for any financial or health records you store, especially any document bearing Social Security numbers.
  • Always use strong passwords with a mix of letters, numbers, and characters for your sensitive accounts. Do not use the same password for multiple accounts and change them regularly.

Visit IRS.Gov to find the full list of weekly IRS Tax Security Awareness Tips.

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