Attorney General Roy Cooper: Watch out for phony IRS calls

North Carolinians are getting phone messages from people who pretend to be with the Internal Revenue Service. The callers claim that you owe back taxes and urge you or your lawyer to return the call immediately. When you do, they suggest that you pay what they claim you owe using your credit card—and of course they’re happy to take your payment right over the phone.

The scammers often call again and again, hoping you’ll eventually call back. They may use technology to make it look like they’re calling from inside the United States, but we think the calls actually come from South Asia.

Scammers posing as government officials aren’t new.  Be suspicious whenever anyone claiming to be with the government contacts you out of the blue to demand payment.  Sometimes the scammer will pretend to be a US Marshall or FBI agent and threaten to arrest you or seize your property if you don’t pay them quickly for debts they say you owe.  Or a fake federal officer may claim they’re calling to help you collect prize money you’ve supposedly won—but need you to pay them taxes or fees first.

These telemarketing scams and tricks come in all shapes and sizes. Be alert, keep your guard up, and don’t let anyone trick you into forking over your hard-earned dollars.

If you receive one of these suspicious phone calls, don’t respond. Instead, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a complaint online at


This message brought to you on behalf of North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper.