IRS new debt collection process leads to increase in scams

Con artists calling about alleged IRS debt are at it again. But this time, there's a twist. It's happening long after taxes were due.

SAN ANTONIO - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning residents of scammers who call claiming to be the Internal Revenue Service in order to steal their money.

Pete Cantu received a message from scammers threatening to arrest him if he didn't pay up.

"I'm a law abiding citizen and I pay my taxes," Cantu said.

The scheme might sound odd since tax season is over, but the IRS recently partnered with four agencies to collect debt from those who do owe money. 

Now, scammers are calling people disguised as these debt collectors hoping to earn big.

"The IRS found that the criminals were extorting up to $150,000 a day from U.S. and Canadian citizens," Miguel Segura, with the BBB said. "Texas reported losing over $27,000 to these phone scammers."

If called by scammers, the BBB advises that people ask the caller which company they're representing, their full name and a call back number. Then they said to research the information to see how legitimate it is. They also suggest that people avoid giving out financial information and to report the call to the IRS.

"The biggest red flag that you could identify, no matter who it is that's calling you, you're never going to be harassed, you're never going to be threatened and you're never going to be asked to make a payment over the phone," Segura said.

The BBB said IRS calls are very rare, so if someone claims they're with the IRS consumers should be skeptical. Also, the IRS will always notify people in advance if they plan to transfer their account to a private debt collector.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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