Q:

How do you know if a call from the IRS is a scam?

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Quick Answer

Taxpayers can know if a call from an IRS is a scam by paying attention to telltale signs and by calling the IRS, according to the agency in August 2014. The IRS never emails, texts or calls anyone unsolicited and always mails bills to ask for payment before calling.

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Full Answer

A few more clues that an alleged IRS call is a scam include a demand for payment right away, saying that taxpayers cannot dispute or appeal the amounts they owe and mandating that taxpayers can pay only a certain way. The IRS also never asks for credit and debit card numbers over the phone and never says it plans to involve law enforcement to arrest nonpaying customers.

Taxpayers who know they owe money to the IRS and who have gotten a call from someone purporting to represent the agency should call the IRS at (800) 829-1040, as of June 2015. A representative helps with payment issues, the agency advises, and by initiating the call, taxpayers can be sure they are speaking with the IRS. Taxpayers who know they owe no taxes should report the scam call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. They can also use the FTC Complaint Assistant to file a complaint.

Scammers can sound persuasive, explains the IRS. They change caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling and supply fake names and fake badge numbers. Scammers often tell taxpayers they have refunds due or try to get them to share personal data.

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