IRS Tax Help Scam


IRS Tax Help Scam: How It Works

Tax season and fake agents.

One of the worst scams around this month is the IRS Tax Help or Filing Taxes Online Scam. If you don't live in the United States, the same scam is being applied by scammers using the names of CRA (Canada Revenue Agency),  HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue &Customs in UK) or ATO (Australian Taxation Agency). It works the same way and comes to you as a phone call or voicemail left on your answering machine, lately from someone calling himself "Ryan Smith". The names could be different, so feel free to share your experience in the Comments section at the bottom of this article.

Watch the video below to see a scammer caught live:

CRA IRS Tax Help Scam Video

Scammers claim to be calling about some fraudulent numbers on the vicitm's tax forms and initially ask the taxpayer for help in finding out what's wrong. Then, as the victim gets freaked out about the illegularities found on his/her submission, crooks proceed to threaten the unwitting taxpayers with arrest, lawsuits, suspension of their driver's license, and more – if the victim doesn't pay a fee, refund, or fine.

In the latest scam, the initial pitch from criminals sounds like this:

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"Hello, this is officer Ryan Smith from IRS (CRA or HMRC or ATO). The reason we're trying to get in touch with you is to notify you that there is a tax fraud perspective in your tax paper, which needs to be rectified immediately. So I need you to call me back; if you're not calling me back I need your lawyer to call me as soon as possible on my direct number, 1 (844) 385-9044. Don't try to disregard this message and call me back as soon as you can".

Criminals generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves. Some of them spoof IRS toll-free numbers on caller ID to make it appear that it's the IRS calling and they are sometimes able to recite the last four digits of a victim's Social Security number.


How to avoid:

Every taxpayer should know if they owe the IRS money and also that IRS will never call and demand immediate payment. Eventually, they will send a notice advising you owe. IRS or CRA never demands taxes without giving the taxpayer the opportunity to question or appeal the amount.

Sometimes, scammers call workers who had done work in another state and say they are collecting for that state. The IRS does not initiate action by phone. It's always through the mail. Just ignore the caller and don't call back.

free tax filing


How to report:

Make your family and friends aware of this scam by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:

Report Scammers To The FTC Here


How to protect yourself more:

If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You'll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.

file taxes online irs tax help


Related articles:

Free Tax Filing and 9 Other Scary Tax Seasons Scams

Tax Refund Scam

American Opportunity Tax Credit Scam

Tax Return Error Scam

IRS Telephone Call Scam Via VOIP

IRS Call Survey Scam

Early Taxes Scam

Tax Relief Companies Scam

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  1. glen hammarberg says:

    they keep calling as a irs agent saying there goingh to come arrest me-there message on my phone there phone number is #206 596 8752 the man on the line swore at me an gave me a badge #they called two days in a row

  2. perle says:

    I’m phone scammed every day by somebody claiming it’s revenue canada & a warrant issued for my arrest. Computer dialed call from 1-844-5510567. Seems MTS or Rev C. show no interest in who’s doing it.

  3. Yolanda says:

    one thing, I don’t respond but I got a call from Ryan Smith from IRS and I know there is no fraud on my tax return, I am a tax preparer!

  4. Agent smith says:

    They just called me i was like. Let google his name real quicks. Now im here.

  5. Nancy Robinson says:

    I just got a voicemail Officer Ryan Smith telling me my taxes are fraudulent. 9188194094. This is the second it’s happened.

  6. Lola says:

    Someone name Officer Ryan Smith from IRS called to call him back at (310) 905-5604 like there is a fraud on auditing my tax. I called him back and he answered "This is IRS" I said "this is not the IRS #", he said "yes it is" and hang up hhh

  7. JOhn says:

    beware of an Indian claiming to be David Orton from CRA (or IRS)!!! He is a scammer!!!!!

  8. Angela says:

    I just received a call from an Officer Ryan Smith (I did not pick up as I did not recognize the number) telling me to call him back and to not disregard the message. I immediately googled his name and find that it’s fraud. I’m so glad I didn’t call the number back (206-388-4876). I wish these scammers would get a real job and earn their money the right way!

  9. Crystal Schaafer says:

    I got call from Officer Ryan Smith – 918-819-4094 from IRS. I didn’t return his call but still have his voice mail he left…

  10. John says:

    Received a call from Officer Ron Smith, they proceeded to want me to get gift cards from target to pay my fine total scam

  11. Kelly Heidenreich says:

    I received this phone call from Ryan Smith with the phone number 646-558-6671. I am glad I checked to see if it was real. I was suspicious. Thank you!

  12. Michael Rowland says:

    I had a call on my cell phone on December the 20th 2017 from someone claiming to be from the IRS. left a phone number for me to call him back, his so-called name left on my voice mail was Officer Ryan Smith from the IRS- at number 646-558-6671 said If I didn’t call them back that it would be held against me if I did not Return the call, I didn’t call because it’s fake. Don’t fall for these scammer’s this time of the year or any year for that matter. BEWARE.

  13. Heather says:

    Received a call from 408-755-9663. I didn’t answer. It was an automated person on my voicemail. "This is officer Ryan Smith from the IRS, this is to notify you that you are under federal investigation due to the fraud and unethical activities found in the audit report of your taxes. Then leaves his number, stated above. Then continues to state "don’t try to disregard the message or it will be taken as an offense on your side" – SCAM!!!!!!

  14. KEVIN says:

    Heather, I got the exact same message today. I think I’m going to call him back and have a little fun:)

  15. James says:

    I just received 2 back to back calls from different numbers…sort of different voicemails…but basically same message. Both from Ryan Smith. Obviously a scam. But the odd thing is that I just completed my tax filing yesterday with TaxAct. Is that just a coincident or does this person(persons) have access to who files using TaxAct or is he somehow connected to IRS or has information on who just submitted their tax returns. This scam only works if you’ve submitted your returns already…and this is quite early in the tax season. Why would they think I already submitted my taxes unless they have connections within TaxACt or IRS and knows I just submitted it???
    Why doesn’t the IRS look into this scam? Or do they need someone to set up the scammer to catch them.

  16. Jenny says:

    Watch out for these two phone numbers – scammers about your taxes:

    (202) 545-6515
    (855) 859-1700 – Susan lol

  17. Emily says:

    Same Ryan Smith tax fraud threat, but from a different number: 202-231-0014.

  18. Io says:

    Here is another scammer number, beware! (206) 693-2383

  19. Helen says:

    Do not call telephone number 1 (289) 885-4346 – scammers!!!

  20. Heather says:

    Received a message from Ryan smith from an 803 area code but also calls regarding tax fraud from area codes 202, 220 and 786

  21. Eduardo says:

    Ryan Smith just called me

  22. CRA tax dept says:

    i’ve just got a call from (226) 215-4435, from an automated voice sayin: "Hello, this call is from the tax department of Canada Revenue Agency. The reason behind this call is that there is a lawsuit that is getting filed under your name. The moment you receive this message I need you to get back to me on my department division number that is (220) 215-4435, I repeat, (220) 215-4435. Now if I don’t hear from you we will have an issue to arrest warrant under your name and get you arrested. Get back to me as soon as possible please

  23. Gabrielle says:

    I just got a call from Officer Smith. Phone number 506.303.8216. Thankfully I found this site!

  24. Stephen says:

    “_?_?_ _?_?_?_?_?_?_?_?_?_?_ this is to notify you that you are under federal investigation because of the _?_?_?_?_?_?_?_ the Nessa collectivities found in the audit report of your _?_?_?_?_?_?_?_?_?_?_?_?_ can reach me on 516-303-8219 now I’m trying to disregard the message or else it will be taken as an offense from your side again this is Officer Ryan Smith from internal revenue service…” just got this voicemail from Ryan smith. Don’t get scammed!

  25. Marsha Clark says:

    Got a Officer Ryan VM today say something about my taxes & if I don’t reply it would not be good! scam scam scam…

  26. Chris Maki says:

    I also received a call from Officer Ryan Smith today from number 301-900-0521.

  27. B says:

    I knew all the rules in regards to the IRS only contacting by mail already (family member is current accountant/former IRS employee), so I had a little fun. Turns out after calling them back and berating them 4 times and then RELENTLESSLY CALLING THEM back, each time they just let it ring until the call disconnects, then they stop calling you for awhile before changing up 1 digit of their number. Then you get to mess with them all over again. ????

  28. Blarg says:

    Hi, this is Officer Ryan Smith from IRS Internal Revenue Service. This is to notify… … You can reach me on +914-410-800-1213.

  29. Donyell says:

    I just heard my voicemail from Officer Ryan Smith. Indicating "Tax Fraud Audit" and to call back a (914) area code number. I immediately did one research and found this site. #1 the voicemail was automated pre-recorded and sounded like a robot #2 I have never owed taxes

  30. Mary Ann Morgan says:

    I got a call from someone with the IRS a couple of years ago and was told my taxes hasn’t been paid since 2008. I just laughed and said you need to talk to my tax preparer (a CPA) not me. Knew it was a scam

  31. Maria Magdalen says:

    I got a call from Officer Ryan Smith about criminal activity with my ssn from the number 209-813-0462.

  32. Amy S. says:

    I got a call from "Officer Ryan Smith" from the dept of SS Admin re: "legal enforcement action filed on your social security number for criminal activities." Phone: 201-591-8695

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