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5 Ways to Spot an IRS Scam

Published on 9/8/2015
Writtin by: Paul Bogdanoff, CPA and Tim Dages, CPA

It is becoming increasingly common for individuals, including Bogdanoff Dages and Co., P. C. clients, to be contacted by imposters posing as official Internal Revenue Service agent’s. Here are a few tips to help you avoid having your money or identity stolen.

  1. IRS Agents Do Not Call or Email. At this time, all initial correspondence from the IRS is delivered in writing. So, receiving a phone call or email from someone proclaiming to be an IRS agent should be a red flag.
  2. Valid Badge Numbers. Official IRS agents are issued badge numbers. If the person contacting you cannot recite their badge number, chances are they are not with the IRS. An example of a typical badge number that you may hear is 1000123456. If an IRS agent is contacting you, after numerous letters have been mailed, the phone call will begin with the IRS agent identifying them self including giving their badge number. 
  3. Demand for Electronic Payments. The IRS accepts payments in a variety of forms. Be on alert if the person contacting you demands funds to be remitted by credit card or wire transfer. However, they do not take payments over the phone and will instruct you on where to mail the payment or the office that you should visit to make the payment. You can verify the address by visiting the IRS website at
  4. Unable to Answer Prior Tax Questions. An IRS agent should be able to answer open-ended questions about your previous tax returns, such as whether he or she knows the name of your employer, the bank where your mortgage is held, or the contributor to your pension plan. If the person contacting you cannot verify that information, you are probably not speaking with an IRS agent.  Of course, you should avoid volunteering or willingly disclosing such information.
  5. Verify Birthdate. At the very least, an IRS agent should know your birthdate based on your previously filed tax records. If he or she cannot verify that information, then you may be encountering a scam. Of course, the person contacting you may already have that information from another source, so your efforts to verify his or her identity and authenticity should not stop there.

Of course, the scam artist may also impose as a tax agent of a state or local taxing authority. If you are contacted by someone claiming to be an agent of the IRS or another tax authority, take caution.Feel free to contact Bogdanoff Dages and Co., P. C. to answer your questions or review any correspondence you may have received.