Attorney General's Office: Watch out for fake IRS call scam sweeping the nation

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


A fast-moving phone scam called the largest of its kind is targeting taxpayers across the country. Victims have reported threats of license suspension, arrest and deportation.

What makes this timely scam so tricky? The scammers impersonate Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents and demand payment for taxes owed, and often: 
  • know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number; 
  • make caller ID appear as if the IRS is calling; 
  • send follow-up bogus IRS emails to support their scam; and 
  • call a second time claiming to be the police or Department of Motor Vehicles, and caller ID again supports their claim.

The IRS usually contacts people by mail not by phone about unpaid taxes.

The IRS won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer, nor will they involve law enforcement or immigration agencies.

What to do:

If you or a family member receives one of these calls, your best bet is to hang up. But if you do get into a conversation, do not give anyone money or credit card information over the phone and don’t trust callers who use threats or insults to bully you.

Next steps:
  1. Report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.
  2. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.
  3. If you owe or think you owe federal taxes, call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040 to verify information.
  4. If you or someone you know has been a victim of identity theft or fraud, contact the AARP Foundation Fraud Fighter Center at 1-800-646-2283.

The statewide Fraud Watch Network is brought to you by AARP and the Washington State Attorney General’s Office.


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