Scammers claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Agency (IRS) are calling people from area code 202 to make it look like they are calling from Washington D.C. Their intentions are to either commit identity theft, or to steal money from their potential victim. They do so by claiming that they need their bank information in order to give them their tax refund. They sometimes also demand tax owed, to be paid right away over the phone.
These phone calls can come in the form of an automated call or a real call, with the caller pretending to be an IRS employee. They may even cite a false employee name and bogus badge number. To prove to victims who are still reluctant, they can instruct them to call back the same Washington D.C. 202 area code shown on the caller ID.
These scammers keep on refining their techniques. They can even spoof the caller ID so that the real number of the IRS appears on your phone.
They may threaten that if you don’t pay your tax owed immediately they will revoke your driver’s license or issue an arrest warrant. They might even have someone call you a short while later imposing to be a DMV official or police officer with the real local DMV office or precinct appearing on the caller ID.
Each year, the IRS publishes a warning about the latest scams called “The Dirty Dozen “ to alert the public to beware about the variety of scams circulating.
Does the IRS contact people over the phone?
The IRS will not call you unexpectedly about a tax refund, nor will they call about tax owed without sending a notice or bill in the mail beforehand. Therefore if you don’t know of any tax owed or didn’t receive anything in the mail you should be very wary of such phone calls.
How can I verify that it is really the IRS calling?
If you think you might owe some taxes and you want to verify that you are not being scammed, you can always call the IRS directly with this number for individuals, 1800-829-1040. You can also check their website – IRS.gov, to see if you owe any taxes.
The IRS will never:
- Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. Generally, the IRS will first mail a bill to a taxpayer who owes taxes.
- Threaten to immediately bring in the local police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
- Demand that taxes be paid without giving taxpayers the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.
Which location is the 202 area code?
The 202 area code services Washington D.C. It is one of the original area codes established in 1947 under the north american numbering plan (NANP)
Scammers use area code 202 to come across as an official and authentic call. They may use different area codes too, such as toll free numbers, (800 888) etc, or NYC area code numbers 212, 332, 347 and more.
What should I do if I get a scam call?
Do not disclose any personal information, like your birthday, social security or any payment information. You can mark down the number and report it to the IRS by sending an email to email@example.com (subject: IRS phone scam) or, by filling out this form online https://www.tigta.gov/.