IRS Calling? Probably Just a Tax Scam

Never give out personal information to a caller, even one claiming to be official.

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If you get a phone call sometime in the next few months, and the caller says he's from the IRS, you might want to consider hanging up on him. It could be one of the many scams that the IRS is currently warning consumers about. Sandy Botkin, tax expert and author of Lower Your Taxes: Big Time!, says that taxpayers are receiving phone calls, emails, or letters that appear to be official, and often inform the taxpayer that the IRS owes him a tax refund. In order to get it, the taxpayer needs to provide his Social Security number, mother's maiden name, and other pieces of personal information. Of course, the caller isn't really from the IRS, and now he has stolen personal information that he can use to steal money. The real IRS will never ask for this kind of personal information over the phone, by letter, or in an email, Botkin says.

The IRS lists dozens of other tax scams on its website and urges taxpayers to report them.