Know the telltale signs of a scam

Summertime tends to be when thieves increase their scam attempts. They try to get people to disclose personal information like Social Security numbers, account information and passwords. To avoid becoming a victim, remember these telltale signs of a scam:

The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfers. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to any taxpayer who owes taxes. All tax payments should only be made payable to the U.S. Treasury. Never make checks out to third parties.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.
  • Demand that you pay your taxes without first giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Use email, text messages or social media to discuss personal tax issues, such as those involving bills or refunds.

For anyone who doesn’t owe taxes and has no reason to think they do, should:

  • Not give out any information and hang up immediately.
  • Contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to report a call or email. Recipients should also send emails to
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.

For anyone who does owe taxes or thinks they do, can:

  • View tax account information online at to see the actual amount owed. You can then also review your payment options.
  • Call the number on the billing notice they received.
  • Call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help.