Many of us know the warning signs of an IRS scammer, but what if someone calls to tell you that you owe money and it’s the real deal?
The IRS is enlisting the help of private debt collectors to work on accounts that the federal agency is no longer actively pursuing.
“It was a gentleman and he said, ‘I am from the IRS,'” Hansen said.
It didn’t take long for the Dell Rapids woman to realize she was talking to a scammer so she ended the call.
Only it may not be as easy as you think to separate the real from the fake anymore.
“While we have said for a couple of years now, ‘The IRS won’t be calling you to collect the tax debt,’ that is still true. It won’t be the IRS calling, but it could be one of their outside agents they have hired to collect that debt on their behalf,” BBB South Dakota State Director Jessie Schmidt said.
If you do have overdue tax debt, there are some things you should know.
The IRS and the collection agency will send letters before calling you.
The four agencies will identify themselves as contractors of the IRS and they will not demand immediate payment. Instead, you would enroll in a payment plan on the IRS website or send a check directly to the IRS.
That’s a different business style than what scammers use.
“They’re going to use a high-pressure tactic that you need to make this payment today; that you need to put it on a prepaid card or iTunes card. Anything like that would be a sheer sign that that would be a scam call,” Schmidt said.
If that’s the case, you’ll want to do what Hansen did and just hang up.
Schmidt says you should call your local IRS office if you’re unsure if you owe money.
For a list of the four agencies making calls on tax debt, visit the IRS website.