IRS Phone Scams: Protect Yourself from SSN Suspensions and Other Threats

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) warns taxpayers of a new wave of phone scams involving threats to suspend or cancel their Social Security numbers (SSNs). These scams often include false claims of overdue taxes and demands for immediate payment using unconventional methods.

Identifying IRS Phone Scams

To avoid falling prey to IRS phone scams, taxpayers should be aware of the following red flags:

  • Immediate payment demands: The IRS will never demand immediate payment over the phone, especially through unusual methods like prepaid debit cards or gift cards.
  • Threats of arrest or legal action: The IRS will not threaten to involve law enforcement or other agencies for unpaid taxes without providing ample opportunity for resolution.
  • Requests for personal information: The IRS will never ask for sensitive information such as SSNs or bank account numbers over the phone.

Responding to IRS Phone Scams

If you receive a suspicious call claiming to be from the IRS, take the following steps:

  • Hang up immediately: Do not engage with the caller or provide any personal information.
  • Report the call: Report the scam to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), the IRS, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Verifying Your Identity When Calling the IRS

To ensure the security of taxpayer information, the IRS requires individuals to verify their identities when calling for assistance. This verification process involves providing:

  • Social Security numbers and birth dates for those named on the tax return
  • Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), if applicable
  • Filing status
  • Prior-year tax return
  • Copy of the tax return in question
  • Any IRS letters or notices received

Protecting Your SSN

In addition to being vigilant against phone scams, taxpayers should take proactive steps to protect their SSNs:

  • Limit SSN sharing: Only share your SSN when absolutely necessary, such as for tax purposes or credit applications.
  • Shred documents: Properly dispose of documents containing your SSN, such as tax returns and bank statements.
  • Monitor credit reports: Regularly review your credit reports for unauthorized activity.

Taxpayers should be aware of the latest IRS phone scams and take necessary precautions to protect their SSNs and financial information. By following these guidelines, individuals can avoid falling victim to these fraudulent attempts and maintain the security of their personal data.

Do I have to file a tax return if I only receive Social Security?


Does the IRS need your SSN?

A Social Security number (SSN) is a taxpayer identification number issued by the Social Security Administration. Individuals who are employed in the U.S. must have a Social Security number to file an income tax return.

What does the IRS ask to verify identity?

Social Security numbers and birth dates for those who were named on the tax return. An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number letter if the you have one. Your filing status. The prior-year tax return.

Does IRS have anything to do with Social Security?

You will pay federal income taxes on your benefits if your combined income (50% of your benefit amount plus any other earned income) exceeds $25,000/year filing individually or $32,000/year filing jointly. You can pay the IRS directly or have taxes withheld from your payment.

Will the IRS ask for SSN over the phone?

Scammers use the regular mail, telephone and email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll and tax professionals. The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.

Do I have to pay taxes on my Social Security benefits?

Submit a request to pay taxes on your Social Security benefit throughout the year instead of paying a large bill at tax time. You will pay federal income taxes on your benefits if your combined income (50% of your benefit amount plus any other earned income) exceeds $25,000/year filing individually or $32,000/year filing jointly.

How do I know if my Social Security benefits are taxable?

The IRS has an online tool you can use to figure out how much of your Social Security income is taxable. Benefits are taxed the same way as other income — you pay the same rate on them as you would on, say, your work earnings. 3. You can have federal taxes withheld from benefits.

Do you owe taxes on Social Security benefits?

4. It isn’t just retirement benefits. The taxation rules apply to all forms of benefits paid out of Social Security’s trust funds — retirement benefits, survivor benefits and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Whichever type of Social Security benefit you’re getting, you could owe taxes on it, depending on your overall income.

Do I have to report my wages if I receive SSI?

Report your wages if you work and receive Social Security disability insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. If you’re a noncitizen who lives outside of the United States and you received or repaid Social Security benefits last year, we will send you form SSA-1042S in the mail.

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