Did you know a phone call "from the IRS" may not be the IRS at all?

The IRS warns that IRS phone scams continue to sweep through the country. But how should you protect yourself? How will you know if the caller is really an IRS representative or not?

One of the best ways to spot suspicious calls is to identify if the caller does something that the IRS states it will never do. The IRS give tips on Five Easy Ways to Spot Suspicious Calls. If a caller claiming to be with the IRS does any one of the following five things, you've got a scammer on the other end of that line. 

Here are 5 things the IRS says it will never do:

  1. Call to demand immediate payment or call about taxes owed without first having mailed a bill
  2. Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe
  3. Require you to use a specific 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 groups to have you arrested for not paying

Again, if the caller claiming to be with the IRS uses any of these above mentioned tactics, it's likely a scam. Hang up and do one of the following things, depending on your situation:

  1. If you think there is a possibility you might actually owe money - Call the IRS directly at 1.800.829.1040. The IRS employees will be able to verify if money is owed and guide you through a payment issue.
  2. If you have no reason to believe you owe the IRS money - Report the scam to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1.800.366.4484.

Still looking for more information? Read the IRS's full article here.