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Protect yourself from IRS phone scams

The IRS is calling - or are they?

Calls and voicemail messages from IRS imposters are on the rise, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). These scammers demand immediate payment and threaten legal action. They are smart, using deceptive caller ID numbers and often already knowing your personal details - such as the last four digits of your Social Security number.

You may think you will be too smart to fall for these deceptive callers, but no one knows what can happen in the moment. In fact, since 2013, nearly 8,000 people have lost more than $44.5 million to these IRS scam calls.

It is most important to be aware that the IRS will never call you to demand money. They will initially contact you by mail. Also, the IRS does not demand payment by certain methods, such as prepaid cards or wire transfer, or take credit card details over the phone. If you get a call and have not already been in contact with the IRS, it is more than likely a scam.

What can you do if you receive an IRS imposter call or voicemail? The FTC recommends you do the following:

  • Write down any information they give, such as the name of the caller, what they want you to pay or contact details.
  • Hang up if it is a live call. Do not give the caller your financial or personal information.
  • Report the call by filing a complaint
  • Warn friends, family and colleagues about the scam.

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