The IRS has issued a warning of scams related to its program of private collection of tax debt, saying that taxpayers should be on the alert for identity thieves pretending to be from one of the companies authorized to collect debt under that program.
The potential for such scams was one of the arguments raised against reviving the program, following two previously cancelled similar programs involving debt that the IRS essentially has written off as uncollectable due to shortages of its own enforcement personnel.
The announcement says that the authorized collection companies must abide by a set of taxpayer rights and consumer protections, including that they must clearly identify themselves as being from one of those four: CBE, Performant, Pioneer or ConServe.
“Even with private debt collection, taxpayers will not get unexpected phone calls demanding payment,” it says, saying that taxpayers should “be on the lookout for scam telephone calls from anyone claiming to be collecting on behalf of the IRS.”
It says that before a taxpayer is contacted, the taxpayer will receive two letters, one from the IRS and one from the collection firm, both of which will include a taxpayer identification number that will be used instead of a Social Security number in any contacts.