You get a call from someone who says she’s from the IRS. She says that you owe back taxes. She threatens to sue you, arrest or deport you, or revoke your license if you don’t pay right away. She tells you to put money on a prepaid debit card and give her the card numbers.

The caller may know some of your Social Security number. And your caller ID might show a Washington, DC area code. But is it really the IRS calling? NO!

The real IRS won’t ask you to pay with prepaid debit cards or wire transfers. They also won’t ask for a credit card over the phone. And when the IRS first contacts you about unpaid taxes, they do it by mail, not by phone. And caller IDs can be faked.

Here’s what you can do:
  1. Stop. Don’t wire money or pay with a prepaid debit card. Once you send it, the money is gone. If you have tax questions, go to or call the IRS at 800-829-1040.

  2. Pass this information on to a friend. You may not have gotten one of these calls, but the chances are you know someone who has.

  3. Report Scams to the Federal Trade Commission. Call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or TTY 1-866-653-4261. Go online:
Your complaint can help protect other people. By filing a complaint, you can help the FTC’s investigators identify the Impostors and stop them before they can get someone’s hard-earned money. It really makes a difference!