How can you can tell if a crook is claiming to be the I.R.S. in an effort to steal your money or personal information? Watch for these giveaways.


The I.R.S. will never call you to demand immediate payment of income taxes. Anyone owing federal taxes first receives a written notice from the agency, in the form of a bill.


The I.R.S. never leaves a taxpayer with no chance of appeal. Taxpayers are perfectly within their rights to question and contest I.R.S. claims that they owe federal taxes.


The I.R.S. never threatens to sue taxpayers. A call, email, or letter threatening legal action with regard to your taxes is not an Internal Revenue Service communication.


The I.R.S. never calls the police or sheriff to arrest taxpayers. It does not hire local law enforcement officers to collect taxes.


The I.R.S. never asks for your credit or debit card number over the phone. Anyone who does this is a criminal preying on you. If a caller demands that you pay taxes using a prepaid debit card, this is a dead giveaway of a scam.


If you think you may have been victimized by a tax scam – either this year or in previous years – you should take the following actions:


*Go to the U.S. Treasury’s website. Visit, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting web page and report what happened to you.

*Go to, the website of the Federal Trade Commission. Report what happened to you via the “FTC Complaint Assistant,” and put “IRS Telephone Scam” in the comments window.1