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. Fed u.

    Reported ss fraud for years regarding an illegal using some one else’s ss they do nothing? The issued ss was born in 1951 or before the user was born in 1972 how is this allowed..? They turn a blind eye they don’t protect idenifty theft of have the proof want ot?

  2. Porfirio

    naturally like your web-site but you have to check the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very troublesome to tell the truth nevertheless I will certainly come back again.

  3. MD t.

    I would not say that the casualties are idiotic, rather they are ignorant and frightened. On the off chance that the casualty is more established and the con artist sounds sufficiently proficient, they could be sufficiently threatened to pay cash regardless of the possibility that they don’t owe it. They may not understand that somebody could be sufficiently insidious to deceive them, particularly on the off chance that they regard the administration and figure they should realize what they are doing and yes possibly they do owe some cash and they overlooked.
    I have made a duplicate of this article and plan to have my minister to talk about this at my congregation in a meeting. I need to present it at an area meeting too. I don’t need more individuals to be defrauded in the event that I can help it.
    In the event that the legislature can’t take care of the con artists, the minimum we, the educated, can do is to go on this data to the clueless. In this way, LET”S DO IT NOW! Much thanks to you.

  4. technology t.

    Currently it appears like BlogEngine is the best blogging platform available right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

  5. Marcy

    Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend your web site, how could i subscribe for a blog site? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided bright clear concept

  6. Dean

    A law signed in Jan. 1 by the President allows debt collectors to call if you own money on government back loans such as mortgages, school loans etc. Details should be worked out in the next few months. This will add confusion as to is legitimate.

  7. Billy

    I got one of those calls and never answered the phone, so after five tries they just gave up.

  8. tony

    Most of the disability for mental heath is a scam. Older people don’t seek mental health treatment once they retire. All of the sudden their conditions are no longer severe where they have to see a psychologist /psychiatrist.

    It is very rare to see a senior citizen in a psychologist/psychiatrist office. It means that most of these people over 50 who suddenly developed these severe mental illness are fraudsters. Once they convert their disability over to retirement, their severe mental illness is gone and they no longer have to see a psychologist /psychiatrist.

    • Marc

      AH, it’s Tony again. Is there ANY topic you’re not an “expert” on? Now you know all about mental illness: how “rare” it is for senior people to consult psychiatrists or psychologists, that “older people don’t seek mental health treatment once they retire,” that people over age 50 don’t get mental illness or it just magically disappears at age 50. No citations or mention of the source of this “information,” however. And where did you say you obtained your degree in – what was it, medicine, biology, science, chemistry – anything??? Oh that’s right – this is jyst your opinion, based on what you’ve “heard.” (Hm…hearing voices is a sign of mental illness…)

      Every single sentence in your post is fictional; every single sentence came straight from the same incorrect source: your own imagination, personal OPINION, and nasty, negative, hateful attitude. None of what you state is factual, none. You have no training, education, experience, nor knowledge of anything medical, least of all mental illness, that much is glaringly obvious from your ignorant claims. And the funny thing is, your post demonstrates the point of this article – people will believe anything. The unfortnate individuals who believe your ignorant claims is exactly the type person who falls for “official” sounding scams. Someone like you calls and makes all kinds of claims, using an authoritative-sounding attitude like you know it all. We should all thank you for showing all of us exactly how these scams work and why people fall for them. Take note, folks. Tony here just showed us exactly what to watch out for. Just because someone throws around claims and numbers and acts like they’re right doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about or what they’re saying is true. Once again, if ypu want to know the facts, go to the original SOURCE. Not some self-proclaimed “expert” or anyone who makes claims that they cannot – or will not – back up with crefible, real proof or evidence. Sheesh!

  9. tony

    As long as the scam still works, people will continue to do them.

    • lynda

      this is true for mental disability should be rediagnosed yearly/

  10. Carolyn E.

    I would not say that the victims are stupid, rather they are uninformed and scared. If the victim is older and the scammer sounds professional enough, they could be intimidated enough to pay money even if they don’t owe it. They may not realize that someone could be evil enough to lie to them, especially if they respect the government and figure they must know what they are doing and yes maybe they do owe some money and they forgot.
    I have made a copy of this article and plan to have my pastor to discuss this at my church in a meeting. I want to present it at a neighborhood meeting also. I don’t want more people to be scammed if I can help it.
    If the government can’t do anything about the scammers, the least we, the informed, can do is to help pass on this information to the uninformed. So, LET”S DO IT NOW! Thank you.

    • tony

      The government is being scammed themselves with all these disability claims.

      Under 20 CFR 404.1527(e) and 416.927(e), some issues are not medical issues regarding the nature and severity of an individual’s impairment(s) but are administrative findings that are dispositive of a case; i.e., that would direct the determination or decision of disability. The following are examples of such issues:

      1.Whether an individual’s impairment(s) meets or is equivalent in severity to the requirements of any impairment(s) in the listings;
      2.What an individual’s RFC is;
      3.Whether an individual’s RFC prevents him or her from doing past relevant work;
      4.How the vocational factors of age, education, and work experience apply; and
      5.Whether an individual is “disabled” under the Act.
      The regulations provide that the final responsibility for deciding issues such as these is reserved to the Commissioner.

      The fraudsters get their doctors to write medical source statements and RFC. The ALJ take the treating source statements and RFC over the Commissioner.The ALJ gives the treating source all the weight in these areas reserved for the Commissioner.

      • Lori w.

        First of all u obvisly have never gone through the prosses for mental problems first of all they ssia send you to There doctors not your personal doctor the doctors the ssia sends you to are working with the social security and those doctors are to weed out the scamers before ssia approves anything so i dont think you can influnct the ssi doctors to go in your faver and submitt false documention to the ssia. Therefore there not scammers. The people that are having real disibilys

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