Scammers impersonate the IRS

Published 8:59 am Thursday, August 20, 2015

Special to The Leader

The IRS impersonation scam is one of the most persistent cons out there. It reappears every few months, and this summer it’s back with a vengeance. BBB has received numerous complaints about aggressive calls by fake IRS agents.

How the Scam Works:

You get a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS. In the most recent version of this scam, the “IRS agent” informs you that you are being sued for unpaid taxes. She/he may give you a fake badge number and name.

The “representative” tries to pressure you into paying a fee by using a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. If you don’t pay up immediately, the “IRS agent” will sign a warrant for your arrest. No matter how much the caller threatens you, don’t fall for it!

How to Spot an IRS Impostor Scam: 

Here are some ways to spot a fake IRS agent.

Be wary if you are being asked to act immediately. Scammers typically try to push you into action before you have had time to think. The IRS will give you the chance to question or appeal what you owe.

The IRS doesn’t call, text or email. The IRS won’t call about payment or overdue taxes without first contacting you by mail.

Don’t wire money or use a prepaid debit card. Scammers often pressure people into wiring money or using a prepaid debit card. It’s like sending cash: once it’s gone, you can’t trace it. The IRS says it will never demand immediate payment, require a specific form of payment, or ask for credit card or debt card numbers over the phone.

If you owe taxes or you think you might, contact the IRS at 800.829.1040 IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there is an issue.

If you know you don’t owe taxes. Report the incident to the Department of the Treasury at 800-366-4484 or

For More Information

Check out the IRS website to learn more about scams and report suspicious activity. To report a scam, visit BBB Scam Tracker at To find out more about other scams, go to BBB Scam Stopper  In Southeast Texas, call 409/835-5348 or 855/BBB-SETX.