The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) say that a number of individuals have received unsolicited phone calls from people claiming to be the IRS and demanding immediate payment of taxes via prepaid debit card or wire transfer. The callers are often hostile, insisting that taxes are owed and threatening individuals with arrest, deportation, and suspension of a business license or driver’s license.

The TIGTA has gotten 90,000 complaints about the IRS phone scam. It’s estimated that fraudsters have stolen approximately $5 million from 1,100 victims so far.

The Inspector General, J. Russell George, has called it “the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen.”

IRS Commissioner, John Koskinen, says, “There are clear warning signs about these scams, which continue at high levels throughout the nation. Taxpayers should remember their first contact with the IRS will not be a call from out of the blue, but through official correspondence sent through the mail. A big red flag for these scams are angry, threatening calls from people who say they are from the IRS and urging immediate payment. This is not how we operate. People should hang up immediately and contact the TIGTA or the IRS.