BBB warns of tax, IRS phone scam

Scam Alert

IRS and tax-related phone scams are being reported to the Better Business Bureau nationwide.

The BBB warns that scammers are posing as IRS officials and threaten jail time and loss of property to residents who owe taxes.

The agency has received calls from residents who say they even receive voicemail messages stating they need to contact the IRS immediately or they would face legal consequences.

Other messages left on the voice threaten arrest by U.S. Marshals for failure to pay the correct amount of taxes.

In addition to claiming to be from the IRS, other individuals say they have been called by people stating they were with the U.S. Treasury both are scams, they say. These IRS and tax-related phone scams are being reported to BBBs nationwide.

According to the IRS, the agency never contacts taxpayers by phone requesting money. They also never contact taxpayers by email. If there is an issue with the IRS that requires your response, the contact would be made by U.S. mail.

BBB recommends the following tips if you receive one of these scam phone calls:

Hang Up - Don't provide any information over the phone. Call the IRS directly using the phone number found on their legitimate website.

Protect Personal Information - In response to an incoming call, never give out any personal or financial information such as your Social Security number, financial information or any passwords and other identifying information.

IRS Contacts via U.S. Mail - If a caller claiming to be an IRS agent notifies you of an outstanding tax debt, but you haven't received official notification from the IRS through the United States Postal Service, it is most likely a scam. The IRS always starts by sending taxpayers written notification of any tax due via U.S. Mail.

Look Out for Spoofing - Part of scammers' sophisticated tactics include 'spoofing,' which happens when the caller masks their own number and causes the number of a well-known service, like the IRS, to appear on caller ID.

Contact the FTC - File a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at From the complaint homepage, select "Other" and then "Imposter Scams". In the notes, include "IRS Telephone Scam".