Although the IRS has warned taxpayers on multiple occasions about IRS phone scams, consumers continue to be victims. A lucrative scam for years, which according to the IRS, has cost victims more than $26 million since 2013, is only getting worse.

The typical IRS phone scam is when someone calls stating that s/he is an IRS agent stating that the taxpayer has an IRS tax bill that must be paid immediately and leave urgent requests for the taxpayer to call back about a tax liability. The phony IRS agent threatens the consumer and tries to scare them into believing they can go to jail, be deported or that their drivers’ license will be revoked if they don’t pay the delinquent tax bill.

Phone scamming has been on the rise and will not stop anytime soon. It has become such a problem that last month the IRS issued an internal Memo telling all IRS employees to no longer initiate any contact with taxpayers by telephone. This means that IRS officials will not be initiating any telephone calls with taxpayers.

The Tip this week? Be wary of anyone who calls, texts or emails you stating that they are an IRS official and that you owe money. That’s NOT how the IRS communicates with taxpayers. The IRS typically provides all notices to taxpayers through the regular mail. If you get a letter from the IRS, pay attention. If you get a phone call, don’t respond and be the victim of a scam.