Frauds & Scams

Don’t Be a Scam Victim—You’re in Control

May 16, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: June 30, 2021

IRSWith the tax season wrapping up, scammers are out in full force. Perhaps you received a phone call demanding payment from the IRS. They may threaten you with legal action if you do not pay immediately, or say things like, “we are sending the police to arrest you.” While these calls may seem scary, it is important to understand that they are not legitimate. This scam, which started in October 2013, has claimed over $29 million from its victims. Unfortunately, this is just one of many scams designed to make you believe you are speaking with a legitimate government official.

Scammers use many tactics in an attempt to force victims to give out information, and sometimes money, via telephone or email. In Social Security related scams, they often call under a guise of helping you complete a disability application, asking you for your Social Security number or banking information.

Whether they are with Social Security or the IRS, a government employee will never do some things as part of official agency business, including:

  • Call you to demand an immediate payment.
  • Demand that you pay a debt without the ability to appeal the amount you owe.
  • Require a specific means of payment, such as requiring you to pay with a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask you for your personal information or credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten you with arrest or deportation.

Any legitimate request from a government agency will come to you in writing. Additionally, if you do receive a call from a government official, they will be able to provide you with a telephone number and extension. If you receive one of these scam calls or emails, do not provide them with any information. You should:

  • Hang up immediately.
  • For Social Security impersonations, contact Social Security’s Office of Inspector General at
  • For IRS impersonations, contact the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at, using the “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” page.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission on

If you are attempting to conduct business with any government agency, or you have received a notice from such an agency, please utilize the telephone numbers provided in the notification. Additionally, you can find contact information on any .gov website such as or

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About the Author

Doug Walker, Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Deputy Commissioner, Office of Communications


  1. tony

    Victims got to be stupid to fall for this scam. Wouldn’t it be easier for the scammers to go after the small businesses saying they got video tape of them hiring illegal immigrants and if they don’t pay, then they will call the police.

  2. Jim W.

    The FBI and perhaps Homeland Security doing to track down, arrest and prosecute these criminals … you said that over $23 million has already been stolen …. It was very apparent from his accent that the scammer who called me was Indian or Pakistani. I ignored the call but was outraged and imagined that many fell for this scam. What are you doing to stop this beside posting a warning?

    • tony

      The government can’t do anything about the scammers. Even Social Security disability can’t stop the scammers from getting disability for anxiety, depression, and back pain. These scammers have doctors and psychiatrist/psychologist backing them up with medical records. They bust one, but there are dozens more still receiving disability and dozen more ready to take their place by the same doctors and psychiatrist/psychologist.

      • Lori w.

        So what people with mental illnesses are crimials? I think you should do some research on mential disorders and educate yourself. On the issue just saying

  3. Michelle

    I received a computerized voicemail (supposedly from IRS) which that right off the bat was a GIVE AWAY THAT IT WAS A SCAM. But the voicemail is very aggressive stating that I will be going to jail if the matter is not taken care of right away amoung other very mean and aggressive statements that are made to scare people into calling these criminals back and giving them whatever info. It is that these horrible people that are doing this want. What’s so sad is that there are so many people out there that fall for these scams because they are so very scared by what these criminals are telling them and they do not know any better so they feel they should do everything these horrible people are telling them to and then these poor people end up loosing everything because they end up giving out their S.S.#’s, addresses, full names & one of the worst things to give out besides your S.S# is your banking acct. info. I just feel so terrible for these people that fall for these scams. But I saved the voicemail that they left on my phone and will be handing it over to the IRS, because it has a phone number to call back, so I will let the IRS (the actual IRS) handle it. But I truly hope that these blogs will help some people out there to be more aware about all the kinds of scams that are out there and to be informed and prepared about what to do just in case they happen to be contacted by these CRIMINALS

    • Ruth C.

      This happened to me too. Thankfully I wasn’t intimidated.

  4. Reinaldo F.

    I want sameone to esplen me in Espanis because no espik ingleis Thank you

    • Ray F.

      For information in Spanish, please visit us at or For Social Security information in other languages, please visit us at

    • Immigration w.

      Explain what? Just don’t answer the phone, so are you here legally? Just kidding.

      • Lori w.

        Good and very apropeate question interesting

        • lynda

          a victim for a tear in SSA

          • Adelaide

            Knlegwdoe wants to be free, just like these articles!

  5. Ken S.

    Received a call stating that the IRS was going to sue me and to call back on the number left to address this issue.

  6. A C.

    I received a scam call from supposedly IRS that I owe them. The call came from 217-697=6521. I informed the male caller that the call was a scam because I don’t owe IRS anything, he immediately hung up. I also reported this to IRS.

  7. Manuel S.

    My wife is a stay at home Retired Business type Woman, very sharp, astute, and a No non sense type; she lets them have it Diplomatically, Friendly Like, and they realize she is ” Bullet Proof ” and they do the only thing they can do is ” Hang Up”.

  8. John O.

    When I get such a call I inform them they they have reached a secret government agency and the phone # is only given to field agents. If they call again they’ll suffer termination by extreme prejudice.

  9. HK

    I got a call a while ago. They claimed they sent me a letter.
    I asked for a copy of that letter to be emailed to me. Gave them a secondary email address I have. They mailed a letter showing the last 4 digits of my SSN. I know it was a scam, however it is scary that they had this information.
    I did notify the IRS (report).

  10. johnathan D.


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