Through it’s annual publishing of “Dirty Dozen” tax scams, the IRS announced that pervasive telephone tax scams continue to be a serious threat and ongoing issue for this tax season. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reports that more than $14 million has been fraudulently collected by individuals claiming to be IRS officials since October 2013.

The scammers claim the victim owes taxes and must pay immediately or they will face arrest, deportation or lose their driver’s license. They use fake IRS badge numbers, are able to spoof the IRS toll-free number, send fake IRS e-mails, and sometimes may even know the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number.

It’s important to know that the IRS will never request personal or financial information via phone, e-mail, or social media and if you do owe taxes, the IRS will contact you by U.S. mail.

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for payment, you should do the following:

  • If you owe or think you may owe federal taxes, hang up and call the IRS directly at 1-800-829-1040.
  • If you know you do not owe or have no reason to believe that you owe any federal taxes, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.

The IRS published a YouTube video with a renewed warning for taxpayers, as well as basic tips on how to protect yourself from these tax scams:

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