BBB warns against IRS phone scams

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – As of December 2015, a federal law passed by Congress allowed specific private tax collecting firms to collect unpaid tax debts. There are four agencies participating in the program: CBE Group, Conserve of Fairport, Performant of Livermore and Pioneer of Horseheads. The Better Business Bureau believes phone scammers may attempt to take advantage of this new rule and pose as a private collection firm.

The BBB suggests a few tips to protect yourself from IRS debt collection scams.  First, the IRS will never call to demand immediate payment using a specific payment like a prepaid debit card or gift card.  Generally, the IRS sends a bill in the mail and all payments will be to the United States Treasury.  Second, private collector firms are not allowed to take enforcement action against taxpayers.  Only official IRS employees are allowed to take such actions.   Third, IRS will never ask for credit or debit card information over the phone or threaten to bring in law enforcement to have a taxpayer arrested.

According to the BBB, scammers play off of taxpayers fear.  It is important to stay calm, collect any information to check their status with the IRS and resist the urge to act quickly if they make threats.

Chris Thetford from the Better Business Bureau joins us for advice on how to avoid IRS collection phone scams.

For more information, visit www.bbb.org.