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It’s a sad fact that we no longer live in a world where we can take everyone at face value. While there’s nothing more guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of all Americans than an unexpected visit, call, or communication from the IRS, it’s necessary to satisfy yourself that the person is an authentic IRS agent. The following discusses what to do should this happen to you, reasons you might get a visit, and how to identify that the contact is being made from a genuine IRS source.

Reasons the IRS Might Make Personal Contact

  •     Tax deficits
  •     Audits
  •     Criminal behavior

Tax deficits

One reason the IRS may need to reach you is if there’s an outstanding amount of tax owed. Unannounced In-person visits are possible in an attempt to collect tax debts. There are instances when this might be carried out via a third-party debt collection agency. However, this latter stage can only be done following a written service of intent to do so.


Audits on a person or business might be carried out by an IRS agent visit. This will only occur with a prior appointment arrangement.

Criminal behavior

Unannounced visits from federal law enforcement agents are possible for those who are the subject of a criminal investigation. These people are responsible for gathering information only, they’re not authorized to request or take any payment.

IRS Agent Identification

  •     Real or fake?
  •     IRS identification documents

Real or fake?

Aside from asking for identification, the following should be red flags that the person you’re speaking to is not a genuine IRS agent.

      A request for payment in any manner other than directly to the U.S. Treasury

      An audit investigation of which you haven’t been given prior notice

      A request for payment from someone claiming to be a federal law enforcement agent.

IRS identification documents

You should ask for identification documents from anyone claiming to be an IRS agent, debt collector, or federal law enforcement agent. It is your right to ask for and see their ID, and this should be over and above a regular ID badge and/or business card. 

There are two official IRS documents that you can ask for:

  1.   Pocket Commission: This is a form of ID card that carries a photograph and their role. It also lists the individual actions that they’re authorized to carry out.
  2.   HSPD-12 Card: This is a federal ID card also known as PIV card (Personal Identity Verification). It should clearly state the IRS agency seal, the agency address, the person’s photograph and their characteristics (height, eye color, hair color, etc.). If necessary you can confirm the information on the card directly with the IRS.

All ID cards should be of high quality, with clear images, and no evidence of having been tampered with. Any genuine IRS agent will be happy for you to contact the agency to verify their ID if you have reason to doubt its authenticity.

The Reporting Process

  •     How to report a suspected fraudulent IRS agent

How to report a suspected fraudulent IRS agent

For suspicious emails, letters, or if you suspect that you’ve been visited by a non-genuine agent, send an email to phishing@irs.govand include the following details:

      Time and date of the visit

      Employee name and badge number

      A summary of what was discussed

      If you’ve received an unsolicited phone call, the number of the caller, date, and time

      Your time zone and location

      Any phone number that you were requested to call back on

      Any other relevant information

For immediate concerns, you can call 800-829-1040, although in most cases the fastest solution is via the above email address.

Fast Guard Service Advice and Action for IRS Tax Scams

Fast Guard Service is a global leader in all aspects of security, including that of IRS scams, online, and data security. For any individual or company who’s concerned that their information might’ve been compromised for any reason, get in touch for immediate expert consultation at Fast Guard Security Service.