Targeting Federal Taxes Scam

Scammers target those who owe federal taxes

There have been reports of college students receiving a call from a person posing as an agent from the IRS. The caller tells the victim they owe taxes to the IRS related to their student financial aid; then demands that the victim pay the money immediately with a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer.

This is a scam.  The IRS usually first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes, and the IRS won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The IRS also won’t ask for a credit card number over the phone.

 Don’t fall for phone and phishing email scams that use the IRS as a lure.

Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you owe federal taxes, or think you might owe federal taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.

If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484 or