An IRS imposter scam is when someone contacts you pretending to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They falsely say that you owe taxes and must pay them immediately or face serious penalties.

Maybe you receive a call from someone claiming to be an auditor and orders you to pay money immediately for a tax debt… or else. The caller might shout insults and demand that you pay over the phone by credit card. Or maybe you receive a voicemail message stating that you have 24 hours to return the call and pay your supposed debt with gift cards… or else. The “or else” varies, but the person on the other end of the line could say that the punishment for not paying is arrest, taking away your driver’s license, jail, or deportation.

Scammers are getting sophisticated, not only are their calls, voicemails, emails, or text messages scary, but they seem real. The caller ID on your phone might say “Internal Revenue Service” or “Federal Government.” It might even have the real number for the IRS. Or the scammer might give you a name and badge number with a telephone number to gain your trust. These scammers use technology and their smarts to focus on making their scams seem as real as possible. Don’t fall for it.

The IRS will NEVER:

  • Contact you by email, text message, or through social media to request personal or financial information such as PINs, passwords, credit card, bank, or other account information.
  • Initiate a phone call or email demanding personal information
  • Call or email demanding immediate payment with a specific payment method (prepaid debit card, gift card, wire transfer, bitcoin)
  • Threaten to call police or other law-enforcement to arrest the taxpayer
  • Demand taxes be paid without the opportunity to appeal the amount owed
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone

How can you protect yourself from IRS imposter scams?

If you need assistance with tax preparation or feel you’ve been a victim of a scam WE CAN HELP.  Call Center For Siouxland’s VITA program at 712-252-1861 ext. 11 to schedule a tax appointment or call ext. 47 to schedule an appointment with one of our Consumer Credit Counselors.