This is a “particularly sophisticated and pervasive” telephone scam targeting taxpayers across the state and the nation, according to Wisconsin IRS spokesman Christopher Miller. “Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and they have to pay promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or a wire transfer. And if they refuse, they’re threatened with arrest, deportation, or even suspension of their business or drivers license.”

Miller wants taxpayers to know the IRS will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor will they request a pre-paid debit card or a wire transfer to settle a tax problem. That should be a red flag.

Miller explains, this new scam is especially dangerous because it seems convincing to unsuspecting individuals. “The scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They’re able, many times, to recite the last four digits of the victims social security number. And the scammers have even figured out a way to spoof the IRS toll free number so it shows up on your caller ID.”

AUDIOMiller says this scam is very convincing. :34

If you get such a call, and you think you do owe taxes, call the IRS directly. If you have no reason to believe you owe taxes, call the Treasury Inspector General. Also, if you’ve been targeted by the scam, you should contact the Federal Trade Commission.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:

  • If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes, then report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1-800-366-4484.
  • If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.
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