TIGTA Unveils New Poster, Flyer Warning Taxpayers About Impersonation Scam

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WASHINGTON —The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) today released a new flyer and poster to enhance its warnings to taxpayers about fraudulent calls they may receive from individuals impersonating Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Treasury employees.

“As the tax filing season approaches, it is critical that all taxpayers remember to be wary of unsolicited telephone calls and e-mails from individuals claiming to be IRS and Treasury employees,” said the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, J. Russell George.  “Despite excellent progress we have made in our investigation of this matter, the callers are aggressive and relentless,” he added.  “Once they have your attention, they will say anything to con you out of your hard-earned cash.  We continue to actively pursue those perpetrating this fraud, and we ask you to remain vigilant and report any calls you receive to our website.”

On October 27, the Inspector General announced the indictment of 56 alleged scammers and five call centers in India associated with the scam, the largest tax impersonation scam ever seen in the United States.  On that date, 21 individuals were arrested in the United States; cases against all those charged are pending legal proceedings.

Since the fall of 2013, TIGTA has been tracking and investigating this scam, in which criminals impersonate IRS employees in order to extort money from individual taxpayers.  To date, more than 1.8 million people have reported to TIGTA that they have received an impersonation call.  More than 9,600 victims have reported that they paid the criminal impersonators a total amount of more than $50 million.

Here is what you need to know.  The IRS generally first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes and the IRS will not insist on payment using an iTunes card, gift card, prepaid debit card, money order, or wire transfer.  The IRS will never request personal or financial information by e-mail, text, or any social media.  The IRS also will not ask for a credit card number over the phone.

If you get a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what to do:

  • If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040.  IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
  • If you do not owe taxes, fill out the “IRS Impersonation Scam” form on TIGTA’s website, www.tigta.gov, or call TIGTA at 800-366-4484.
  • You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov.  Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.

TIGTA encourages taxpayers to be alert to phone and e-mail scams that use the IRS name.  Forward suspected scam e-mails to [email protected].  Do not open any attachments or click on any links in those e-mails.  Also, be aware of other unrelated scams (such as saying you are a lottery or sweepstakes winner) and solicitations (such as debt relief offers) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.