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Consumers may get phone calls from the IRS after all

(WJLA graphic)

A 7 On Your Side consumer alert warns that it may become more difficult to distinguish between a legitimate debt collector for the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.) and a scam artist.

The I.R.S. imposter scam has already fooled close to one million Americans, netting more than $25 million dollars.

Used to be, the best consumer tip was this: the I.R.S. will not call you by phone. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from the I.R.S., demanding that you pay on overdue taxes, you should hang up.

However, a new law allows the government to used contractors to collect on your debt, and they might very well give you a call.

The Better Business Bureau (B.B.B.) alerted 7 On Your Side to the change, fearing that consumers will be confused. The BBB released this list of contractors, approved to represent the U.S. government in the collection of unpaid tax debts:

CBE Group

1309 Technology Pkwy

Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Conserve

200 CrossKeys Office park

Fairport, NY 14450

Performant

333 N Canyons Pkwy

Livermore, CA 94551

Pioneer

325 Daniel Zenker Dr

Horseheads, NY 14845

But the I.R.S told 7 On Your Side, you will still receive a letter first; be cautious of a call that comes from out of the blue.

By law, the caller has to be courteous. Seriously! If the caller yells, curses, or threatens to have you arrested, hang up.

The collector won’t and can’t ask for your credit card information, or suggest that you pay by gift card or wire transfer.

Consumers will be asked to pay the I.R.S. directly, either online or by a check payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent to the I.R.S., not the private collection company in the mail: IRS.gov/payments.

The tax debts assigned to collectors will likely be many years old. To confirm that you have an old tax debt, click here.

Below are links from the I.R.S that may be useful as you try to verify whether a call from a debt collector regarding unpaid taxes is legit:

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/private-debt-collection

https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/private-collection-of-some-overdue-federal-taxes-starts-in-april-those-affected-will-hear-first-from-irs-irs-will-still-handle-most-tax-debts

https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/how-to-know-it-s-really-the-irs-calling-or-knocking-on-your-door

To learn more about the I.R.S. scam from the B.B.B., click here and report it at BBB Scam Tracker.

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