Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Mar 4 2016

UPDATE: 10/06/2016 - Indian police arrest 70 for targeting Americans in tax scam

SEATTLE — A fast-moving phone scam is targeting taxpayers across the country. Victims have reported threats of license suspension, arrest and deportation.

What makes this timely scam so tricky? The scammers impersonate Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents and demand payment for taxes owed. They often:

  • Know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security number;
  • Make caller ID appear as if the IRS is calling;
  • Send follow-up bogus IRS emails to support their scam; and
  • Call a second time claiming to be the police or Department of Motor Vehicles, and caller ID again supports their claim.

The IRS doesn't initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.

The IRS won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer, nor will they involve law enforcement or immigration agencies.


If you or a family member receives one of these calls, hang up.

Do not give anyone money or credit card information over the phone and don’t trust callers who use threats or insults to bully you.

If you have been contacted by an IRS scammer, follow these steps:

  • If you owe Federal taxes, or think you might owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions.
  • If you do not owe taxes, fill out the “IRS Impersonation scam” form on the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration’s website, www.tigta.gov, or call TIGTA at 800-366-4484.
  • You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam" to the comments in your complaint.

Please help spread the word about this scam by sharing this information with your friends and family.

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The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.


Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL@atg.wa.gov