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Man on the phone. Learn how to protect yourself from and respond to scams and frauds by visiting

You get a call from someone who says he's from the IRS and tells you that you owe back taxes. These call usually involve threats for immediate payment. The caller may know part 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 doesn't call and if they do contact you about unpaid taxes, they do it by mail, not by phone. 

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.

Please Report Scams

If you believe you've been the victim of an IRS scam, please report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

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