Seriously, the IRS isn't calling you

Sean Philip Cotter

Rose Halfpenny's phone rang shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday, just a couple of days before Monday's tax-filing deadline.


When she picked up, the robo-call voice told her it was the IRS — that she owed money, and she better call a number before they put a lien on her house.

"It put the fear of God into her," said the 80-year-old West Manchester Township resident's daughter, Teresa Fabra.

But Halfpenny knew better. After all, another of her daughters works for the IRS.

She knew the bottom line is this: People from the IRS are never going to call or email you demanding you pay them immediately, as a recent news release from the agency says. And they're definitely not going to ask you for personal information or payment information over the phone, or threaten you with local law enforcement.

Scam alert: The IRS issued the news release Wednesday, writing that they expect, as happens every year, scammers are going to ramp up their efforts leading up to Monday's tax-filing deadline, when the IRS and taxes are on people's minds.

The callers often will use some personal information such as the person's name and address to make it sound more official, and they will request money via cash or a wire transfer, the release states.

The IRS won't do this. Nor will they threaten to take way someone's driver's license, or arrest or deport people, according to the release.

Target: The Department of Aging said older folks are more often targeted for these types of scams.

Fabra said her aunt got taken for about $7,000 a couple of years ago.

"I don't want to see these elderly people losing so much money," Fabra said.

Anyone who receives a call like this should contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484 and the Federal Trade Commission at its website.

Anyone who gets a suspicious email should forward it to

The IRS also made sure to include in its release that if you do think you owe taxes, call 800-829-1040 for assistance.

— Reach Sean Cotter or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.