How it works

A scammer calls, claiming to be an IRS agent. The caller tells you that you owe money to the IRS and threatens to arrest you if you don’t pay immediately by wiring the money or sending it through a prepaid debit card.

What you should know

  • The IRS will never call you to demand immediate payment, insist that you pay a certain way, (e.g. by prepaid debit card), or ask for your credit or debit card number over the phone.
  • If you do owe taxes, the IRS will first contact you via the U.S. mail. They will not demand that you pay taxes without allowing you to question or appeal the amount you owe.
  • The IRS will not threaten to arrest you for not paying taxes.

If you think you do owe taxes and are not sure whether a phone call or email is the real thing, do not respond to the caller or emailer. Instead, contact the IRS directly at 800-829-1040.