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Here at the FTC, we think about scams all day long. What are the scammers’ new angles? How can we keep ahead of them? We hear from people about the scams they see, and we turn that into tips people use to spot and avoid scams.

But scammers find FTC staff, just as they find the rest of America. My colleagues and I have even gotten calls on our work phones, offering reduced credit card interest rates, or claiming to be tech support calling about problems with our computers. We also get the calls at home. In fact, someone claiming to work for the IRS called my house just last week:

This has all the signs of an IRS imposter scam. In fact, the IRS won’t call out of the blue to ask for payment, won’t demand a specific form of payment, and won’t leave a message threatening to sue you if you don’t pay right away. Have you gotten a bogus IRS call like this? If you did, report the call to the FTC and to TIGTA – include the phone number it came from, along with any details you have.

1,356 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Maxwell
April 03, 2015

In reply to by John b

I couldn't agree more. How nice that the FTC can get the same calls and have a right good chuckle over it. phew. It makes zero sense that the FTC doesn't prosecute these nationwide scams. How hard can it be to call - 509-207-5816 - (a number used in the IRS scam) and play along. Feeding them information that can be tracked. Must be like the local police that can't catch the drug pusher standing on the corner, a corner everyone knows, a person everyone knows, selling drugs that everyone knows. Can't arrest him? Why not? Not in the budget. Thats right, no return on cost. Police can fine a thousand citizens a day for going 5+ mph over the limit, but can't arrest the known drug pusher, NOT IN THE BUDGET? Is this why the FTC can't arrest obvious con artists that are ripping off Americans EVERY day?
FYI
April 21, 2015

In reply to by Maxwell

Amen dude. Your so right. So how about this? How about we put the call forwarding on our landlines and then all the telemarketer calls we get to to the IRS? And see how long it takes for them to find these scammers and hackers, and make the DO NOT CALL LIST how it was 5 or 10 years ago! Update it so it works better at tracking spoofed numbers and shows EVERYONE it's true caller id number!
Carrie
May 30, 2015

In reply to by Maxwell

I said the same thing, I just got a call from 509-790-0556 leaving a message saying to call them back immediately. I just called the number back and they only answer saying "I.R.S" i hung immediately. WHY IS IT SO HARD TO STOP THESE PEOPLE???
Ann
August 10, 2015

In reply to by Maxwell

I recieved one today as a computer generated call telling me i needed to call irs as soona as possible at 509-428-2147
Buffy
August 24, 2015

In reply to by Ann

I got a voice mail saying the IRS is filing law suit against me and to call 509-428-2147 The original call was from a 225 number in Louisiana. I was quite alarmed when I called the number back and they said to meet them at Walmart or they will be at my door in 45 minutes. Then hung up. Can they get any information on you from calling them???
history buff
August 25, 2015

In reply to by Buffy

I lauged, told them to leave me alone and hung up. They called right back to tell me that there was a warrant out for my arrest so I told them that I'm packing my bag and I'll be waiting at my front door and humg up. They did not call again.
Jordan
September 21, 2018

In reply to by Ann

Me too! It was so fake by the words they used ‭+1 (509) 317-9856‬
McPhaul
December 08, 2015

In reply to by Maxwell

KUDOS!!! You have hit the nail on the head! I had my identity stolen and the people tried to file my 2014 tax returns ... I get inconvenienced and the criminal isn't even worth it for the IRS to go after! Then someone stole my identity with a credit card that I don't use and is my lock box! This worls is going to hell in a handbasket!
CANTFOOLME
April 23, 2015

In reply to by John b

I HAVE BEEN RECEIVING PHONE CALLS FROM 360-807-5520 SAYING THEIR THE IRS AND I OWN THEM MONEY AND THEY ARE GOING TO ARREST ME... I HAVE REPORTED THIS NUMBER TO BROWARD COUNTY SHERIFF DEPT. AND IRS. THEIR FULL OF S--T I HOPE THEY GET CAUGHT!!
CantFoolMeToo
June 11, 2015

In reply to by CANTFOOLME

The same thing happened to me only it came from 209-890-8972. She claims to be Rebecca Brown. The case # is not from Broward Courts, I checked. Alerted the police too and they said it is on the news. It's a scam.
H8Scammers
June 15, 2015

In reply to by CantFoolMeToo

I just got a call from the same number. This time she claims to be Nikki Johnson and gave a call-back number of 916-282-9543. I called the 209 number back and a man with an Indian accent answered saying "Internal Revenue Service". He kept asking for my name. I wouldn't give him any info and he wouldn't answer my questions and eventually hung up on me. I filed complaints with TIGTA and FTC.
Mamma Bear
July 11, 2015

In reply to by H8Scammers

Now they are using the number 415-800-4078, I reported the scam to my local police dept and the doj.
Cricket
December 23, 2015

In reply to by H8Scammers

I got a call (answering machine message) from "Nikki Johnson" ID Division number 4088506480 too. I reported the number and message to IRS Phishing. 3rd call... fake automated American accent....
Dante
April 30, 2015

In reply to by John b

They have called me on 4 different occasions, just this year. And leaving a message on a few occasions, threatening ones, saying they have a warrant for my arrest, but are giving me the opportunity to call them back first. My phone carrier's caller ID doesn't spell out my last name and spelt my first name incorrect, so when they call, they try and pronounce my first name only. I like to play with them. I let them go through all their verbage, then ask them to verify my last name. haha! Some get really made and call me names then tell me the cops are on their way. I tell them I've got coffee brewing and breakfast waiting for them, lol. I also, had another call from someone who told me I won a trip. I verified a few non personal things, then after she went through the entire speech, I said I wanst interested. Boy did she get made. She was yelling at me, asking me why I let her go through all that. I just told her she really needs to work a bit harder to rip people off. That will teach them. Just don't give your personal info. out. And a company named Global support solutions called. Said they are windows Tech dept. I said Im on lunch break and have to call back, they gave me a number of 800-448-1840. I will call them back and really have fun with them too, and wont turn on my computer. My brother had someone from a computer scam call him, and when he deeply questioned them, they said something, I cannot even say here. It was discusting and they hung up.
Sirius
January 06, 2016

In reply to by Dante

Dante, I love the remark about having coffee brewing and breakfast waiting! I hope it confounds the scammers at least a little. I received two calls today from "Nikki Johnson" asking for a callback at 415-914-1526. I guess Nikki is so busy at her job that she can't call personally or give any details about what the case is about.
bobbo
May 06, 2015

In reply to by John b

Calls from 214-717-5061 saying they were the IRS and either myself (no ne used) or my lawyer needed to call them back. Heavy foreign accent and closed with have a blessed day.
Haley
May 19, 2015

In reply to by bobbo

My husband got the same phone call just today from a 757-517-0173 with a foreign accent saying that he commeted fraud. We filed our tax return days before they even started looking at them. Now this guy said he is sending the police out to arrest my husband but could only tell him his first and last name.
Pam
July 15, 2015

In reply to by bobbo

Just got a message on my phone today from 347-408-0709. Guy with a heavy Indian accent that said his name was Mark Johnson. He said he was from the Department of Legal Affairs, US Treasury and that a Law Enforcement Action was being brought against me. He said to return his call or have my attorney call him. He also said that if I didn't return his call in a timely manner that it would cause a legal mess for me. He closed with have a blessed day and God bless. Scared me at first, but the more I thought about it I was sure it was a scam. The whole thing just didn't sound right. Thanks for all the other posts, it helped confirm that this was a scam.
angryinnh
December 07, 2015

In reply to by bobbo

On November 10-13th, 2015 received numerous messages on my cell phone asking to call them asap re a non-payment of a loan, no dollar amount given at this point or from who. The last message from a heavily Spanish accented man from a Texas number {214-935-8751} was very threatening. "Now if you don't call or in case I don't hear from you or your attorney either, the only thing that I can do is wish you a happy life. A law enforcement team of your state will be soon at your doorstep. Goodbye." I called back VERY angry at the threatening tone and as I know I have never defaulted on a loan and have a clean credit report {check your's every year people!}. This man was incredibly rude, threatening and nasty. Kept threatening law enforcement. Would be at my door for this.....never showed and no more phone calls.
Jennifer
May 12, 2015

In reply to by John b

I'm glad to see some of these comments, but I'm still flipping out right now. On March 13 I missed a call on one of my cell phones. It was from a no caller ID. The message was a mechanical sounding females voice recording, not a live person, saying that they are IRS Officer Nikki Johnson 818-660-4959. This is extremely time sensitive matter, don't disregard this message before we take any action against you. Of course I was nervous, a couple people said it's a scam. I never thought anything of it again. Then about three weeks ago on my other cell phone, I got the exact same message. Neither time did they address me by name. The recording had already started when my recorder had picked up, so It was in the middle of this IRS message when the real message started. My counselor had an Attorney call the number and was told that I am being investigated for Identity Theft. I have not received any type of letter in the mail. Has anyone else had this exact issue. I'm really scared.
FTC Staff
May 13, 2015

In reply to by Jennifer

The IRS will never call to demand immediate payment. They will always send you postal mail before they call you about taxes. And the IRS will never call you to threaten you. That’s a sign that this is a scam.

If you owe federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, call the IRS directly at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.

You can report these incidents to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 800-366-4484 or online.  They investigate IRS impersonators.

John doe
September 11, 2015

In reply to by FTC Staff

I always just say " did you hide the body yet" lol never get anymore calls after that...
BeagleMom
November 05, 2015

In reply to by John doe

omg....did you find the body???? i gotta remember that!!!! l got a call from some joker claiming to be from the IRS...yeah right!! this is the message he left on my voice machine... "The very second you receive this message you need to leave your work aside and dial a number. the number is 214 935-8751. I repeat the number is 214+935-8751 NOW if you don't return the call or in case if I don't hear from your attorney either the only other this what I can do is wish you a happy life as the law enforcement team of your state will be soon at your doorstep Goodbye" did you find the body yet??? OMG!!!! dying with laughter here!!!!!
bunk
May 18, 2015

In reply to by Jennifer

I was just clearing out my message box on my phone and came across a message that had been left for us within the last month saying: Quote..."Hello. We have been trying to reach you. This call is officially final notice from IRS Internal Revenue Services. The reason of this call is to inform you that IRS is filing lawsuit against you. To get more information about this case file, please call immediately on our department number 509-587-4585. I repeat 509-587-4585. Thank you."...End quote. Please note, the voice was a computerized female... Needless to say, I haven't called and have, so far, received no further calls. Jennifer, I'm pretty confident this is a scam just as it sounds like your encounter is. If the IRS has your phone number, they surely have your address and would officially contact you by mail. Truly don't think you have anything to worry about...
hate robo calls
May 29, 2015

In reply to by Tired of it

Received same message from 202-864-1311. Ignored it and filed written complaint with FTC..
mad as heck
June 02, 2015

In reply to by Tired of it

Just received this today, same number 206-462-5330 These people should get life in prison and no parole, same thing for identity thieves ! Make the laws a lot stricter on this type of activity.Hackers also !! GEESH !!!!
Wow
September 15, 2015

In reply to by mad as heck

They are identity thieving scum bags who need to be locked up forever. If they don't steal from you they are stealing from someone else. Maybe even your family. Please find these people and do something about it.
Jul
June 04, 2015

In reply to by bunk

thanks for posting this...I just recieved the same message and freaked out until I realized that the IRS does not call....mine was from 509-295-???? I didn't catch the last 4 digits
Eve
June 10, 2015

In reply to by Jul

I received a call from 509-315-3020 on June 4th. The robo call (via a voice message) stated that the IRS was going to file a suit against me. I ignored the call. Received 2 similar calls last year. This time I chose to report it.
DeeDee
July 11, 2015

In reply to by Eve

I received robo call yesterday,Fri 7-10-15, saying that the IRS has law suits against me and to call 509-588-7563.I wasn't home and didn't hear the message until today. It scared me at first, but then I got on my computer and found this info. Thanks for posting!!
C Nicole
July 20, 2015

In reply to by DeeDee

I just received one of these calls today from a 509 area code. I did some research and found the same testimonials from others who received the same "robocalls" claiming to be from the IRS and that I was being sued. The only difference is that when I called the number back there was no answer and the phone just continously rang.
motley
September 21, 2015

In reply to by C Nicole

Just received a message like this on Sept 18th 2015 from phone number 888-215-2217. It does make you nervous but at least I know I am not the only one this is happening to
BLESSED
January 07, 2016

In reply to by Jul

I freaked out too. received a call yesterday from 202-600-4268. Was told that there was a warrant out for my arrest. He gave the name officer paul Wilson, badge #190097569. Person that left message on answering machine was Steve Parker, both probably were fake. He asked me for 2650.00, but 1000 to stop the warrant. I panicked but did not give any personal information. Please be safe, because this world certainly isn't anymore.
ABeckyC
June 08, 2015

In reply to by bunk

I got this call 3 times so far today, from 2 different numbers. Both times I just hung up. I did some searching online, found this message - thanks for reaffirming my suspicion that it is scam :) Becky
worried
June 15, 2015

In reply to by ABeckyC

I just recieved a message from a recording of a women said, the IRS has a lawsuit against you for more information call this number, 2063171701, called back no answer? scam!!!
Caligirl
June 23, 2015

In reply to by worried

My mom just received the same call from the number 206-317-1701...they said the same thing....first thing that came to my mind was scam!!
mrscracker
June 24, 2015

In reply to by worried

Received the same call, same number 3 times in 4 days. Husband freaked out, we had just sent our payment recently. I assured him the IRS does NOT call. Filed complaints with IRS & FTC.
No Worries
August 05, 2015

In reply to by worried

I got the same message that a lawsuit has been filed against me (me AND my husband, or just me, or just whoever listens to the message?). I received one of these same messages several months back and ignored it and have not had a lawsuit. Got another one yesterday from 914-712-8148. Have not seen this number posted so wanted to get it in. I would not worry about this as it is very obvious it's a scam.
ElleWine
March 04, 2016

In reply to by worried

I received a computer generated VM from (415) 496-0793, stating they were Mickey Johnson from the IRS and to please not ignore the message. I called back and got a very rude foreign man (He asked of this were my "mobile" #...). My radar went off and he asked for the name of my attorney and I think my laughing made him mad. I told him to prove to me who he was. So he gives me a "Case #" and his "badge#" and says he's going to prove it to me. I receive a call back from a local # and he says, "do you have a computer, look up this phone #". And it was indeed the Memphis IRS phone #. I laughed and told him to confirm my social. He got angry and said he had proved himself and because I was such a c**t he would forward my case to the local office and they would call and deal with me. Hysterical!!! I called the local IRS number and it clearly states they do NOT handle business over the phone. You have to schedule an interview.... Too much excitement for a Friday.
woman4life
August 14, 2018

In reply to by worried

Just a heads up: never call back. There are scams that steal ph. services when you call back. I always go to organizations website and get call back numbers if I am concerned. It is safer.
Linda
August 20, 2015

In reply to by ABeckyC

I got the robocall from "IRS" today 8/20/15, threatening a lawsuit, knew it was BS, hung up immediately. Phone number was 509-779-2332. I feel sorry for people who fall for this scsm!
Uuuuugh!!
June 21, 2015

In reply to by bunk

I got three voice mails from 509-588-7383 on my cell phone stating the irs was filing a lawsuit against me. It was an automated female voice. I filed a complaint with the FTC. Very annoying and concerning.
Boguscammers
July 08, 2015

In reply to by bunk

I have been getting same calls from the 509 number saying it is a final warning about an IRS lawsuit and to call them.
Jimmyjr
November 05, 2015

In reply to by Boguscammers

I received the same calls from Seattle WA. also claiming IRS has filed a law suit against me for 2,890.06 and to pay this immediately,according to some articles of the law and I don't anymore time to pay this dept to the IRS and not to discuss this with anyone or I would be subject to fines,losing my freedom,and my property taken, and my drivers license suspended. They said my lawsuit was against me from a miscalculations of my taxes either from my intentions or by my mistake and can settle my debt in court or send them money without any type of payment plan. I have already paid my taxes for the years they stated, and I'm already have a payment plan with IRS and I checked my balance of my debt which not what they was trying to scam out of me. I almost fell for the threats, but I got professional opinions first and and my bank manager checked them out to be a scam and not to give them a cent and he gave them hell. So if they call again from 509-207-4630, 206-495-9943 claiming to be Mike Wilson, or Karen Smith beware and report them. I wish these scum bags get caught. If they call my phone again they won't like what I'm going yo say. I'm also reporting them to the IRS
northerngirl
July 29, 2015

In reply to by bunk

I received that same message by an automatic recording and it came from a number out of Vancouver Washington 360 556 2212