Beware Tax Collection Scams

Congress has recently authorized the IRS to hire four private collection agencies to collect overdue tax bills.  Many consumer advocates warn that scammers may try to take advantage of the new system and that consumers must be especially vigilant in order to avoid an IRS collection-related scam.

Piggy Bank

What SHOULD happen:

  • IRS will mail letters to taxpayers with outstanding debt. IRS will notify those taxpayers that their account has been assigned to one of the following 4 collection agencies:
    • CBE Group
    • Conserve
    • Performant
    • Pioneer
  • Then, taxpayers with outstanding debt should receive a letter from their assigned collector via U.S. Mail.
  • Next, the assigned collection agency will phone the taxpayer to discuss payment options. The collector cannot accept payments or take any action against the taxpayer.
  • A taxpayer makes payments ONLY to the IRS, either electronically or via check payable to The U.S. Treasury.

What should NEVER happen:

  • You should not be contacted by an agency other than IRS or one of the four listed above regarding an IRS-related debt.
  • You should never be asked to give personal information over the phone or via email. Personal information includes your Social Security number, your tax ID number, credit card or bank account information. If someone asks for this information, hang up and file a complaint with the U.S. Treasury. You may do so by calling The Inspector General’s Hotline (1-800-366-4484) or online at www.tigta.gov.
  • You should never be asked to pay over the phone or by a prepaid debit, iTunes or gift card. If someone suggests this, hang up and file a complaint with the U.S. Treasury. You may do so by calling The Inspector General’s Hotline (1-800-366-4484) or online at www.tigta.gov.


Report that Scam

Federal Trade Commission

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Internet Crime Complaint Center

Postal Inspection Service