Update 2/10/2016: Tax season is upon us once again, so make sure you don't fall victim to the IRS scam this year.
You're having dinner with your family when suddenly you get a phone call. On the other end of the line is a person claiming to be from the IRS, asking for a lump sum to cover "back debts" owed to the IRS. They say that you can wire the money or send a pre-paid debit card to settle this amount owed - and if you don't, you face jail time. What do you do?
First of all: the IRS will never call you and ask for money - period.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, "Federal government agencies and federal employees don't ask people to send money for prizes or unpaid loans. Nor are they permitted to ask you to wire money or add money to a prepaid debit card to pay for anything."
Even though these calls may have a Washington, D.C. area code or misleading information on caller ID, rest assured that any "government employee" contacting you and asking for money upfront is a scammer.
Has this happened to you? Report scammers here, to the FTC: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/media/video-0054-how-file-complaint