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CHPD Warns of IRS Phone Scam, Feds Give 5 Ways to Spot Hoax

The Citrus Heights Police Department tweeted a warning this week about an IRS phone scam hitting the Sacramento-area and nation, with IRS officials on Thursday releasing five ways to avoid falling victim to the scam.

IRS sign
By Joshua Doubek (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
“There are clear warning signs about these scams, which continue at high levels throughout the nation,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail.”

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said it has received over 90,000 phone calls about the scam, and has identified around 1,100 victims who have lost an estimated $5 million.

The IRS warns that scammers can spoof caller ID’s to make it appear the IRS is calling, and can often recite the last four digits of a social security number — but it says the following five scam practices are ones the IRS never uses, making them tell-tale signs of a scam call:

  1. They call you about taxes you owe without first mailing you an official notice.
  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.

If a recipient of a suspicious call from someone claiming to be with the IRS, officials recommend taking the following actions:

  • If you know you owe taxes or think you might owe, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, and IRS workers can help you with a payment issue.
  • If you know you don’t owe taxes, or have no reason to believe that you do, report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) at 1-800-366-4484 or at
  • Also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at, adding “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint.

Originally from neighboring Rancho Cordova Police Department, CHPD’s tweet about the scam lists (917) 300-3617 as one of the numbers scammers have been using locally to target taxpayers, and recommends not giving out any personal information.

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