I recently got a phone call seemingly from the IRS. Is this phone call a scam?

by PICPA staff | May 11, 2018
askacpaiconWill the IRS file a criminal lawsuit for owed tax money? I am not even sure I owe anything, but I got a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS saying there was a criminal lawsuit against me and to call her right away. She even gave a case number. I read about similar scams, and think this may be one too. Could I not know about the IRS filing a criminal lawsuit? Please help.

This is a scam. The IRS always sends taxpayers a written notice of any tax due via U.S. mail. Never by phone. Here are safety tips to review in case you are ever in this situation again:

  • The IRS never calls and asks for credit card, debit card, or prepaid card
    information over the phone.
  • Never give out your personal information, even if it appears that the phone scammer knows your bank name or a portion of your account information or Social Security number.
  • Never follow up with the phone number, e-mail, or website provided on the phone. In the instance of an IRS phone call, contact your tax return preparer or the IRS at www.irs.gov or call (800) 829-1040.
  • Don’t let badges, fake ID numbers, and bullying intimidate you. Hang up the phone and go to reliable resources.
If you pay to have your tax returns completed, be sure to contact your tax preparer whenever you get contacted by the IRS. If you are uncertain about what to do, and don’t work with a professional, the PICPA has many articles for consumers to reference. If you have more questions to be answered, check out the Ask a CPA section of our website. 

Answer By: PICPA Team. 

***Answer originally published Dec. 1, 2014.

The responses are based on the limited information provided by the questioner and apply the laws and regulations at the time of posting. Other options could arise as rules and regulations may change over time, including but not limited to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. They are intended to provide general information, not specific accounting or tax advice; they are not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding or evading taxes or penalties under the IRS code or regulations. Views expressed do not imply an opinion of the PICPA, its officers, directors, employees, or members.
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