Bogus IRS Phone Calls Threaten to Bilk Seniors

The latest in phone scams is one the IRS reports that is aimed at frightening people into thinking they not only owe money to the IRS, but that the government is about to take them to court to get back taxes and penalties and interest money!

According to the Internal Revenue Service website: (, scammers call your home phone and say (or leave a message) that you owe money and must repay the funds promptly. Scammers say the taxpayers face arrest, having their driver’s license suspended, or being sued by the Government. They may even call back another time and claim to be local police or from the Division of Motor Vehicles.

In addition, scammers may use a common name and surname and give an IRS badge number.

They may even be able to tell you the last four digits of your Social Security number!

Their technology may so advanced that your caller ID may show the actual IRS toll-free number. They may also have fake background noises that make it sound like they are phoning from a call center.

As a follow up to the scamming phone call, they may send a bogus email to support their claims.

What is important to remember is that the real Internal Revenue Service will NEVER ask for credit card information over the phone. They will NEVER ask you to pay using a Debit card or a wire transfer. Representatives of the IRS will not threaten you with arrest or lawsuit if you do not pay right away.

Seniors and those for whom English is a second language are often targeted by these scammers. If you get a call from someone who claims they work with the IRS, remember: DO NOT GIVE ANY INFORMATION, SUCH AS YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR CREDIT CARD INFORMATION.

If you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at (800) 829-1040. An IRS staff person can help you with a payment issue IF one exists.

If you know you DO NOT owe taxes or have no reason to think that you might, call and report the phone call to the Treasure Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484. You should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their FTC Complaint Assistant ( In the COMMENTS section, add the words: IRS TELEPHONE SCAM.

Be wary anytime someone calls you and asks you to provide personal details or financial information over the phone. If you’re not sure, hang up and call the official number for the company or organization – their customer service teams will be able to tell you the truth about your status and let you know if you owe money.