IRS Phone Scams Rising, Impersonators Make Threats

July 21, 2014

BBBs and IRS see uptick in fraud attempts via phone

DENVER – The Better Business Bureau of Denver/Boulder, and other BBBs across the nation, have received an uptick in reports of attempted fraud involving Internal Revenue Service impersonators. According to those targeted in the scam, scammers pretending to be the IRS, or affiliated with the IRS, ask for personal and financial information. In some cases, the scammer threatens to “file charges” against the victim if they don’t take action immediately.

“Because tax scams are so common during the filing season and immediately following the deadline, it’s possible that this recent increase in activity may be an attempt to catch consumers off guard,” said Su Hawk, president and CEO for the BBB of Denver/Boulder.

In July, at least three reports have been made to the BBB of Denver/Boulder regarding these scams, and other BBBs have received as many as 10 reports in one week. Senior citizens are often targeted in scams like these, but they can be attempted on anyone and also come in email form.

The BBB offers the following reminders:

  • The IRS isn't going to call and demand money over the phone. The IRS will contact you by mail if there is an issue with taxes due. If you have a question, contact IRS at 1-800-829-1040 or visit
  • The IRS will not threaten people with arrest or other legal action.
  • If you get a threatening call from anyone claiming to be the IRS or any other well-known agency, hang up and call the agency directly.
  • Watch out for red flags like bullying or hostile behavior.
  • Report the activity to your local police, the IRS and the BBB.

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About the BBB

The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews, BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, there are 112 local, independent BBBs across the U.S. and Canada. Please visit for more information.