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IRS hires debt collectors to call taxpayers; how to determine scammers from the real calls

Posted at 6:09 PM, Feb 23, 2017

Bogus IRS calls are blamed for tricking more than 5,500 people out of $36 million over the last several years. The Better Business Bureau reports 48,000 complaints since 2015.

But now changes in the tax code opened the door in 2017 for the IRS to hire third party debt collectors. There will be four companies that will call taxpayers concerning back taxes but not without written warning.

The debt collector will send a second separate letter so the tax payer has plenty of notice before the calls start.

Anna Marie Millett with Pinellas County Consumer Protection advises tax payers who may be confused to contact the IRS directly. 

If the call is a fake it will likely involve high pressure or threats, the caller will demand immediate payment by money wire or pre-paid debit card, something the IRS and its debt collectors will never do.

In a statement the IRS says:

“The IRS will do everything it can to help taxpayers avoid confusion and understand their rights and tax responsibilities, particularly in light of continual phone scams...."

Everything you need to know is under the tax scams section on the IRS website. Just got to www.irs.gov.

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