If someone calls and threatens to cancel your SSN over a tax bill, hang up

Oct 28, 2019

This article was first published by the IRS and has been reproduced with permission. Subscribe to IRS tax tips here.

In the latest twist on a scam related to Social Security numbers, scammers claim to be able to suspend or cancel the victim’s SSN. It’s yet another attempt by con artists to frighten people into returning ‘robocall’ voicemails.

Scammers may mention overdue taxes in addition to threatening to cancel the person’s SSN. If taxpayers receive a call threatening to suspend their SSN for an unpaid tax bill, they should just hang up.  Make no mistake…it’s a scam.

Do not give out sensitive information over the phone unless you are positive you know the caller is legitimate. When in doubt, hang up. Here are some telltale signs of this scam. The IRS and its authorized private collection agencies will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment method such as a prepaid debit card, iTunes gift card, or wire transfer. The IRS does not use these methods for tax payments.
  • Ask a taxpayer to make a payment to a person or organization other than the U.S. Treasury.
  • Threaten to immediately bring in local police or other law enforcement groups to have the taxpayer arrested for not paying.
  • Demand taxes be paid without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount owed.

People who don’t owe taxes and have no reason to think they do should:

People who owe tax or think they do should: