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Don’t Fall for Scam Calls & Emails Posing as the IRS

March 19, 2018

Scammers and cyberthieves continue to use the IRS to try to commit crimes. The most common tax scams are phone calls and emails from thieves who pretend to be from the IRS.

Scammers use the IRS name, logo, fake employee names and badge numbers to try to steal money and identities from taxpayers.

You need to be suspicious of phone calls or messages from someone who claims to be from the IRS. Often the criminals will say you owe money and demand payment right away. Other times, scammers will lie and say you’re getting a refund. The thieves then ask for bank account information over the phone.

Here are tips that will help you avoid becoming a victim of this kind of scam.

IRS employees will not:

  • call demanding an immediate payment. (The IRS won’t call taxpayers if they owe taxes without first sending a bill in the mail.)
  • demand payment without allowing taxpayers to question or appeal the amount owed.
  • demand that you pay your taxes in a specific way, such as with a prepaid debit card.
  • ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • threaten to contact local police or similar agencies to arrest you for non-payment of taxes.
  • threaten legal action, such as a lawsuit.

Hang up immediately if you get one of these calls.

Some scam emails link to fake websites that look real. The scammer’s goal is to lure victims to give up their personal and financial information. If the thieves get what they’re after, they use it to steal your money and identity.

If you get this kind of email:

  • Don’t reply to the message.
  • Don’t give out your personal or financial information.
  • Forward the email to Then delete it.
  • Don’t open any attachments or click on any links. They may have malicious code that will infect your computer.

If you receive a scam call or email:

  • Report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Use TIGTA’s “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page to report the incident.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on Add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your report.

If you think you might actually have an IRS problem, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, or call 1-844-545-5640 for an appointment to visit an IRS office. If you have a problem with your taxes or with debt, contact us. Fill out our form and we will call you back. Your information will be sent to Legal Services Vermont, which screens requests for help for both Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Vermont. You can also call us at 1-800-889-2047.

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