IRS will allow debt collection by phone; here’s how to avoid scams

(Image: Shutterstock)
(Image: Shutterstock)


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — For years News 8 has been able to warn people that if someone ever calls claiming to be the IRS, hang up the phone or blow them off, because it is a scam. Now things are changing a little bit. Soon the IRS will start allowing phone calls in attempts¬†to collect debts through a third-party.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said that the change causes him concern.

“Of real concern to my office because up until now we’ve been able to simply say if you get a phone call from somebody who says it’s IRS collecting debt, it ain’t true,” Jepsen said Friday. “This (now) is more nuanced, more complex.”

Staring in April 2017, the Internal Revenue Service will start working with third-party vendors reaching out to people who owe money. A statement from the IRS said in part: “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 where callers impersonate IRS agents and request immediate payment.”

The trick is to know when it’s a legitimate phone call, and not a scam.

Three things will happen. First, you will receive two letters — One from the IRS and another from the collection agency. Then a phone call from the collection agency. And last — this is a key point — you are to only make out a check to the United States Treasury, and no one else, ever. The IRS will also allow electronic payments.

“Under no circumstances make a check out to anybody except the U.S. Treasury and mail it to IRS itself,” Jepsen said.

The IRS said four companies have received the contracts to collect debts. You can find out what companies they are and get other questions answered by clicking here.

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