Taxpayers should be wary of IRS phone scam this tax season



As tax season is in full swing, taxpayers are urged to watch out for a phone scam that has been targeting people recently.

The pervasive phone scam has been going on for several months now, and victimized taxpayers all over the country. Now that a high volume of people are filing their federal income taxes, particularly around President’s Day, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is encouraging taxpayers be extra protective and cautious with their sensitive personal information.

“A lot of people have taxes on the mind right now,” said Mark Hanson, IRS spokesman for Virginia, North Carolina, and West Virginia. “It’s conceivable that somebody may file and get a call around the same time, and they may think it’s the IRS, but it’s not.”

According to Hanson, the scam artist will call the targeted taxpayer with information they have somehow obtained, claiming to represent the IRS. They have even managed to use caller ID spoofing, so it appears that the IRS called them from a legitimate phone number.

Once in contact they will tell the taxpayer they owe back taxes, and need to provide a credit, debit, or bank account routing number in order to load money onto a prepaid card to process the payment. The scam artists have been known to become hostile when the victim won’t comply – using inappropriate language, and making threats in order to scare the person into compliance.

Hanson also said the scam will sometimes target recent immigrants, and scam artists have been known to threaten taxpayer’s immigration status.

“These are just things that the IRS would not do, so we want to get the word out there so people do not fall into one of those traps,” said Hanson.

If there is an issue, the IRS will usually contact taxpayers by sending them a paper notice with specific instructions for what they should do. According to Hanson, the IRS does not call people unexpectedly to demand payments.

As identity theft has become a growing problem in recent years, the IRS has increased enforcement in that area. At this point the IRS doesn’t know exactly how many people have been targeted, or the means by which the scam artists obtain that sensitive information, as it could come from multiple sources.

“What we do know is they have it, that they’re using it, and that they’re up to no good,” said Hanson.

According to Hanson, he hears about scamming incidents like this every day, and that it appears to be a consistent, ongoing issue that has yet to be resolved.

Ultimately, Hanson said the IRS encourages taxpayers to be skeptical, and err on the side of caution when it comes to their sensitive personal information.

“These individuals have criminal intentions, they want to steal from you,” said Hanson. “People just need to remember that when in doubt, taxpayers have a right to protect their sensitive personal information.”

Anyone who thinks they have been targeted by the scam is encouraged to contact local law enforcement first. Those incidents can also be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration by calling 1-800-366-4484, contact the Federal Trade Commission using the “FTC Complaint Assistant” at



5 Responses to Taxpayers should be wary of IRS phone scam this tax season

  1. Judy

    February 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    my daughter told me someone from IRS called me, claiming IRS has an warrant for me and his number is 347-450-3820 name: Mark Stone. When I called back the number he pick up the phone and said ” IRS, how can I help you?” I told him I want to talk to Mark Stone and he put me on hold for a few minutes, then he came back and claiming he is Mark, but I recognize his accents. I asked him if he really is the IRS what is my SS. #. He Could not tell me, and became hostile. …Oh, I also ask ed him for his ID number and he gave me 169, which is too short for irs agent number.
    Please call the number and put the thug behind the bars. Thanks.

    • Va Girl

      February 18, 2014 at 4:19 pm

      Judy, please report this guy. If you have a tax accountant I’d get advise from him or her how to best do so.

      Did a reverse look up on that phone number. This is what I got, but not the owner’s name because I am not a registered member of the website.

      Owner Name: Available in Report
      Line Type: Landline
      Location: NEW YORK CITY ZONE 6, NY
      Carrier: CLEC LLC – NY

      Register Date:
      2010-03-08 00:02:59

      I did read that Facebook is the easiest place to search and find out who a phone number belongs to if you are a member.

  2. John Cataldi

    February 18, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    I just had a similar experience today, whereas a fake IRS agent called me to tell me that I needed to have my lawyer present tomorrow whereas I would be arrested for back taxes owed. They called me from 415-251-3769. They had some basic information about me, name, address and cell phone, which tells me they are using some database. If yiu are contacted, Do not give them any information! Report the incident to law enforcement ASAP.

    • Va Girl

      February 19, 2014 at 10:10 am

      Now that SWT has put our posts to the board, I see the phone numbers have the symbol for Skype! Yours John came from Central Office: IGNACIO, CA – YMAX COMMUNICATIONS CORP. – CA [?]

      I only have the free version of Skype which I use daily for work. If you have Skype and can search a phone number I bet you can find out the screen name of who contacted you.

      Do a search on that phone number and you’ll get websites to pop up that show this number has harassed before and you can make a complaint.

    • Anonymous

      February 19, 2014 at 6:13 pm

      John, I got a call from the same number this pm. Looked up on White Pages and it says it belongs to VMax Communications. I called this number and was told I was under investigation. The guy hung up immediately after I asked what is my SSN.

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