Unless it’s a family member, in which case my caller ID tells me that’s who it is, I just plain don’t answer the phone at home, period (that’s at home; at the office is different). If it’s important, the caller will leave a message on my answering machine identifying themselves and leaving a number for me to call back.
That approach means that the scammers that Coyote is talking about in his recent post on scammers posing as IRS collection agents (I have written about those scammers as well, more than once) have no opportunity to get through to me, although it has occasionally in the past resulted in them leaving some creepy messages on my answering machine.
The larger lesson here is this: how often do government agencies, and particularly taxing authorities, initiate contact with individual taxpayers by telephone? The answer is almost never. They communicate with taxpayers in writing (and I don’t mean email). That’s why I can confidently say: if you don’t know who is calling, don’t answer the phone.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.