What to Do If You Get a Call from Scammers

Posted on March 31, 2023

What to Do If You Get a Call from Scammers

An IRS phone scam is in news because it was recently revealed that thousands of people across the country have received phone calls from scammers pretending to be the IRS. The calls grow threatening and are many times followed by calls claiming to be from the police. To date, there has been a loss of $1 million to this scam.

When faced by threatening calls from scammers, it is important to know how you should react and where you can report. Market Watch explains how to respond to the scammers and what not to do when faced with a scammer:

  • “If you actually talk to the caller, don’t answer any questions — even if they know the last four digits of your Social Security Number. If you must lie, say you don’t know — you will have to look it up.
  • Ask them for their name, IRS employer ID, campus location, department, and phone number. Tell them you will call them back.
  • Google the phone number to see if it really is an IRS phone number.
  • If it is not an IRS phone number, follow the guidelines above to report it. If you can, block that number they give you from your telephone. And if your caller ID shows the caller’s number, block that number as well.
  • If it appears to be a real IRS number, call the IRS at 800-829-1040, preferably late in the afternoon or very early in the morning. (The lines are not as busy then.) Ask them to verify the existence of this employee’s name, ID number, location and phone number. Ask them to look up your account to see if you really do owe any money. If so, get connected to someone to make arrangements to either pay the balance or to put it on hold for 30 to 45 days. That will give you time to contest the balance if it’s wrong”
  • “Never be rude or insulting — you might actually be talking to real IRS staff.”

If you get nervous or the caller becomes too intimidating, it is safe to just hang up. Set your phone to voice mail or turn the answering machine on and screen all calls. You can then report them to the FTC. Market Watch shares the information provided by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration (TIGTA) to help people report the calls from scammers:

  • “If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
  • If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to 800-366-4484.
  • You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Add ‘IRS Telephone Scam’ to the comments in your complaint.”

Keep this information where you can find it, especially during the tax season. You can note down these numbers in your diary so that you can get immediately assistance should you receive calls from scammers.