In 2004, the IRS was given the authority to use third party debt collectors to hunt down taxes owed by delinquent taxpayers. Scam artists knew an opportunity when they saw one.
Dealing with Scam Artist Pretending To Be IRS Debt Collectors
In an effort to track down delinquent taxpayers, the federal government gave the IRS the right to hire private debt collectors in 2004. You know, those annoying people that call during dinner. The reason for this change in policy actually made some sense. With as much information as the IRS is forced to deal with, it simply took forever for the IRS to start collection actions. By using the third parties, the IRS would be able to get the process moving without taking up employee time.
As you might imagine, the private tax debt collector program sounded like a good idea, but proved to be problematic. There were two primary problems. First, the legitimate debt collectors were threatening taxpayers. Second, scam artists started posing as debt collectors to collect money from nave tax collectors or perform identify theft on them. It is this second problem that we focus on here.
The central problem with the new debt collector program is how does a taxpayer know if they are dealing with a legitimate company or a scam artist trying to rip them off? Well, the IRS has instituted a new program in an effort to clarify matters. Here are the highlights:
1. If the IRS is going to use a private debt collector to come after you, the agency will first send you a letter indicating as much. The name of the company handling the debt collection will be included in the letter. If you do not receive this letter, ignore or report any parties claiming to be debt collectors to the IRS immediately. Play along and get their contact information so the IRS can hammer them.
2. When dealing with the debt collector, you will eventually reach a point where you write a check. The check should be written to the United States Treasury. If the debt collector instructs you to write it to any other name, they are scam artists and you should report them immediately. There is no exception to this rule. All payments are made to the United States Treasury, just like if you had actually paid your taxes on time!
Scam artists are very creative when it comes to thinking up schemes for ripping people off. Understand and stick to the following guidelines and you can foil them.
Richard A. Chapo is with BusinessTaxRecovery.com – providing information on taxes.