Five Easy Ways to Spot a Scam Phone Call

Real Estate Agent with John L. Scott RE Maple Valley, WA

Five Easy Ways to Spot a Scam Phone Call


What do I do???The IRS continues to warn the public to be alert for telephone scams and offers five tell-tale warning signs to tip you off if you get such a call. These callers claim to be with the IRS. The scammers often demand money to pay taxes. Some may try to con you by saying that you’re due a refund. The refund is a fake lure so you’ll give them your banking or other private financial information.

These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may even know a lot about you. They may alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.

The IRS respects taxpayer rights when working out payment of your taxes. So, it’s pretty easy to tell when a supposed IRS caller is a fake. Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a sign of a scam. The IRS will never:

1. Call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the chance to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
3. Require you to use a certain payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
4. Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
5. Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what to do:

If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 to talk about payment options. You also may be able to set up a payment plan online at
If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to TIGTA at 1.800.366.4484 or at
If phone scammers target you, also contact the Federal Trade Commission at Use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” to report the scam. Please add "IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments of your complaint.
Remember, the IRS currently does not use unsolicited email, text messages or any social media to discuss your personal tax issues. For more information on reporting tax scams, go to and type “scam” in the search box.

Courtesy of the

Posted by

Roseanne Campagna

John L. Scott RE
Maple Valley, WA

Realtor® Safety Link



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Comments (9)

Ted Glover
Alderman Classic Realty, LLC - Moultrie, GA
ABR in Moultrie, Georgia 229-854-5422

Roseanne, thanks for the post and information. There are enough people already trying to separate us from our money. Thanks for the heads up on the scammers.

Sep 02, 2014 12:18 PM
Larry Johnston
Broker, Friends & Neighbors Real Estate and Elkhart County Subdivisions, LLC - Elkhart, IN
Broker,Friends & Neighbors Real Estate, Elkhart,IN

Hi Roseanne, It's amazing how many people are taken in by scammers.  Especially the elderly. Thanks for the reminders.

Sep 02, 2014 12:57 PM
Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide

Scams are a major business, we all must watch our and other's backs.

Sep 02, 2014 01:03 PM
Jack O'Neal
HomeSmart Elite Group - Gilbert, AZ

Thanks for posting! This is great and important info for people. Unfortunately scammers have been getting smarter and scare people into paying them money.

Sep 02, 2014 01:15 PM
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Have had some company calling me every couple of weeks saying they are from Microsoft and my computer is not working correctly. Now I just hang up. Scam.

Sep 02, 2014 01:17 PM
Jack Mossman - The Nines Team at Keller Williams in Stockton
The Nines Team At Keller Williams - Stockton, CA
The Nines Team at Keller Williams in Stockton

Some of these scams are so elaborate, I wonder how successful those folks might be is they put all the same energy in a legitimate enterprise.

Sep 02, 2014 01:23 PM
Roseanne Campagna
John L. Scott RE Maple Valley, WA - Maple Valley, WA
Kent/DesMoines/Blk Diamond/Renton/Maple Valley, WA

Yes, scammers are something everyone needs to watch out for - and the buggers  get more and more creative all the time. The online world has definitely made things more challenging too... Thanks for your comments!


Sep 03, 2014 11:42 AM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Good warning Roseanne, it is unfortunate that these scams seem to keep going, it would be nice if the fbi made these a higher priority.


Happy Easter



Apr 05, 2015 03:14 PM
Gary Roller

Hi Roseanne, I wanted to pass some information to you about Nancy Grey. If you have heard then you know. Not sure if you would be open to talking to me. 253-205-1788

Sep 13, 2016 06:42 AM