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IRS Phone Scam

In this scam a caller claims he or she represents the IRS.  The caller demands immediate payment and tells recipients to use a credit card, debit card or pre-paid debit card, such as a Green Dot card.  Callers threaten recipients with court actions or even immediate arrest if they don’t pay immediately.

The caller likely “spoofs” the number that appears on caller-ID displays, meaning the display may mask the true number and falsely display an actual or claimed IRS number.

According to the IRS, it does not place calls demanding immediate payment and sends notices to taxpayers through the U.S. Mail.  If you receive such a call, hang up.  If you want to take an extra step to ensure you really don’t owe federal back taxes or penalties, call the IRS directly to verify.

How to Report an IRS Scam

  • Victims who lost money through an IRS scam should report the loss to local law enforcement.
  • Victims who were not scammed but who wish to report it can contact the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) through the FTC Complaint Assistant at
  • Those who want to verify whether they owe federal taxes or penalties should contact the IRS directly.  The IRS telephone assistance number is 1-800-829-1040.
  • Those who were not scammed but who wish to report being contacted by an IRS impersonator can report it to the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Taxpayer Administration (TIGTA): or, toll-free, at 1-800-366-4484.




888-777-4590 (outside of the Des Moines metro area)




Office of the Attorney General of Iowa
Consumer Protection Division
Hoover State Office Building
1305 E. Walnut Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0106


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