How to Avoid Fake IRS Scams: What You Need to Know

Scammers will try any low-down tactics to get your information or squeeze some extra cash out of you. It’s important that you know the common ways they try to scam you. One of the most common scams targeting older Americans is fake IRS scams. Here are some basics you need to know to avoid these dirty tricks.

Fake IRS Scams

Just Hang Up

The IRS isn’t going to call you to inform you of any back taxes or to threaten you with freezing your assets or having you arrested. That’s just not how the government does things: they follow due process. If you really do owe back taxes, you’ll get written statements from the IRS with official procedures you can follow to handle the situation. If someone calls purporting to be from the IRS, just hang up on them. They’re just trying to rattle you in order to get you to do something foolish, like handing over your information or your money.

Gift Card Scams

A common type of scam that con artists run has them claiming you owe money and telling you to buy gift cards, in cash, and then tell them the card numbers. If someone claiming to be from the IRS ever asks you to buy gift cards, hang up the phone. The government doesn’t accept payment in the form of gift cards, period. Don’t let some con artist yank you around and have you spend hundreds on gift cards just so they can go on a shopping spree.


The IRS isn’t going to send you an email demanding you tell them your personal financial info. In fact, it’s unlikely you’ll ever actually receive correspondence from the IRS in the form of an email. The IRS prefers to send physical letters for almost all communications with taxpayers. If you get an email from someone claiming they work for the IRS, you can almost certainly just delete it.


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