New rules in IRS debt collection

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - We recently warned that the IRS scam recordings had resurfaced. Linda Shane of Colorado Springs got one.

She told me, “They talked taxes and IRS. It's like 'whoa!'"

Linda knew better, but others didn't. So far in Colorado, 216 people have lost more than a million dollars. Victims thought they were talking to IRS agents collecting their tax debts, not crooks.

Now, a new wrinkle. Those who really do owe money will soon be hearing from one of these four private debt collectors: CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa; Conserve of Fairport, New York; Performant of Livermore, California; or Pioneer of Horseheads, New York. They were hired by the government to track down delinquent payers.

Starting this week a few hundred people across the country will get notices in the mail as well as phone calls, urging them to pay what they owe. Next week and into the spring and summer thousands will be notified. But here's how you'll know the difference between the real collectors and crooks.

First, if you don't owe the IRS, you won’t be contacted, period. If you do get calls, they are scammers.

If you do owe money to the IRS, it won't be a brand new debt, but one going back several years and you will know about it because the IRS will have contacted you about it before.

New notices are going out by U.S. mail this week from the IRS and the four debt collection companies. These letters will have very specific information like the amount you owe, and other details that the bad guys won't know.

Just remember, real debt collectors will never threaten to arrest you, haul you before a judge, or take away your property. They also won't demand immediate payment. They'll ask you to pay the U.S. Treasury by check or electronically.

They also won't tell you to buy gift cards, wire funds, or give out your credit card number to pay your debt.

If crooks call you and ask you to call back, report those numbers to TIGTA, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and agents will shut down those numbers.