Fake Refund Phone Call Claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS)

Fake Government Agencies
IRS Scams - Fake Refund Phone Call from the Internal Revenue Service
"The IRS is filing a lawsuit against you!" or "You will be arrested!"

Have you received a phone call claiming to be from the IRS, telling you that "The IRS is filing a lawsuit against you!" or "You will be arrested!"; then instructing you to call the number provided?

It is a scam.  The IRS will never, never phone you unless you first contact them.  They WILL NOT EVER phone you to tell you you owe money or are due to receive a refund; or for any other reason. Count on it.

Another obvious clue is the number the scammer called you from.  It's not a government number.  In fact, a call one of our staffers received on November 6, 2015 was from (509) 383-4527, which (according to TrueCaller) was from Glory M. Kaley in Pulman, WA.

The scammers obviously change their phone numbers frequently.  Here are some they have used for this scam:

206-462-5330
202-684-6530
202-864-1183
202-864-1229
202-864-1311
206-488-1123
347-467-1092
347-620-7136
347-989-4972
352-404-5816
352-404-5816
415-799-8333
509-203-4357
509-383-4534
509-392-6377
512-961-8514
703-542-1703
832-251-7353
844-584-0764
866-978-0622

 

You can read a news story about the scam here.

 

What do to?

Do NOT return the call! You can file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/complaint.

Investigators look for patterns in the complaints people submit. When you tell them about your experience and all the details you can remember, it helps law enforcement.

If the FTC brings a law enforcement action related to the scam you report, it can help stop the scam and help a lot of people. Sometimes � rarelys � they can get some money back for the people hurt by the scam.


Sample Scam IRS Phone Call:

October 2015:

 Starts with a recording saying "this is the IRS, we are freezing your assets and someone will be coming to your door to finish your paperwork" then leaves this number that does not come up on caller ID.

November 2015:

 Hello. We have been trying to reach you. This call is official 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 202-864-1183.


 

Clearly, this phone call and it's associated website is criminal activity intended to steal your money or identity!


Recommendations:

If you receive a call from this number or any group that claims to represent a government agency, take down their information, including the contact's name, phone number, etc. Do NOT give them any personal or financial information, especially not a credit card, checking or bank account number, passport number, etc.

Next, look up the direct phone or email address for the agency they claim to represent and call them.  Tell them what happened and ask if it could have come from their agency.

While we don't want to encourage people to ignore correspondence from legal government agencies, it is a safe bet that NO U.S. government agency will make any first contact with you by phone. Certainly not the FBI or IRS.

The IRS offers this advice:

If you receive an unsolicited e-mail or phone call purporting to be from the IRS, take the following steps:

  • Do not open any attachments to the e-mail, in case they contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
  • Contact the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to determine whether the IRS is trying to contact you about a tax refund.

And please let us know about any suspicious calls or phone calls you receive.  We look for patterns so that we can alert the authorities and victims to new scams, before it is too late!


How to Report a Tax Refund Scam Phone Call:

If you receive a suspicious e-mail that claims to come from the IRS,

  1. Forward the information to the IRS (phishing@irs.gov and
  2. Send a copy to ConsumerFraudReporting.org (via the feedback form)
  3. Please notify the IC3 by filing a complaint at www.ic3.gov and

Follow instructions in the link below for sending the bogus e-mail to ensure that it retains critical elements found in the original e-mail. The IRS can use the information, URLs and links in the suspicious e-mails you send to trace the hosting Web site and alert authorities to help shut down the fraudulent sites. Unfortunately, due to the expected volume, the IRS will not be able to acknowledge receipt or respond to you.

In the United States, you may also contact:

U.S. Secret Service
Financial Crimes Division
1800 G Street, NW
Room 942
Washington, DC 20223

Phone: (202) 435�5850

Fax: (202) 435�5031

Or contact the local U.S. Secret Service Field Office.

Frequently Asked Questions - 1.13 IRS Procedures: Reporting Fraud

How to Report Abusive Tax Promotions and/or Promoters:
Complete the referral form  which documents the information necessary to report an abusive tax avoidance scheme. The form can be mailed or faxed to the IRS address and fax number on the form.

How to Report Abusive CPAs, Attorneys or Enrolled Agents:
Report suspicious actions by tax professionals to the email address  of the IRS Office of Professional Responsibility.

 

Overseas

Contact the Foreign Commercial Service (FSC) at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If there is no FCS office, contact the American Citizens Services Unit of the Consular Section or the Regional Security Office.

For a comprehensive list of national and international agencies to report scams, see this page.