If someone calls you claiming to be from the IRS, demanding immediate payment, and threatening to have you imprisoned, keep calm and hang up.

Officials with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) are warning people not to fall for any threatening phone calls from people claiming to be with the Internal Revenue Service, and are encouraging anyone who receives such a call to report the incident to their hotline (1-800-366-4484) or tigta.com.

IRS scam calls occur throughout the year, but typically become more frequent around tax filing season. The IRS' website lists 5 things the agency absolutely will not do, including:

  • Calling to demand immediate payment, or calling about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demanding that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Requiring you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Asking for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threatening to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for non-payment.

The IRS will also never use unsolicited email, text messages, or social media to discuss your personal tax issues.