INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Debby Terry and her husband recently got a surprising message on their home phone from the IRS.
Debby says she called the number and waited 45 minutes on hold before someone with an angry tone answered.
"She said, 'Well you must owe back taxes.' I said, ‘No we don't.' ‘Well you must!' in a real hateful tone," Terry said.
The woman asked for Debby's social security number. She refused to give it.
The next day, the Independence, Mo., couple went to their local IRS office where staff confirmed they do not owe the agency any money.
"She says ‘You owe us nothing.' She says, ‘We haven't sent you any correspondence. There's no phone calls.' She said we don't have any problems with you. She said this is a scam, " Terry said.
An IRS spokesman told Call for Action, the agency wants everyone to watch out for IRS impersonators that use phone, faxes, websites or even in-person contacts.
The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by phone, email or social media to notify them of an audit, refund or balance due.
Terry contacted Call for Action to spread the word about the potential problem.
"People like our parent's age are more apt to trust and give them their social security number. I don't want them to go through that. I don't want anyone to go through that. It's a nightmare," Terry said.
A spokesman says when the IRS contacts a taxpayer the first time, it's always in writing.
To see what a typical IRS notice-to-pay looks like, click here.