Tax season is officially recognized as the period from the beginning of the new year (January 1st) to the last day to file your taxes (April 17th). During this time, hardworking people around the nation are scheduling appointments with their tax preparer or doing their own taxes via tax preparation apps like TurboTax and TaxSlayer. No matter the chosen avenue, the ultimate goal is to get paid.
People often use these funds to catch up on bills or make necessary life purchases. Scammers and fraudsters are aware of your willingness to satisfy debts during this time and will try everything to swindle you out of your hard-earned money. Due to recent changes in how the IRS approaches tax collections, consumers may be especially susceptible to tax collection scams in 2018.
IRS Outsourced Debt Collection
As of April 2017, the IRS announced that they would be outsourcing collection of specific debts to four debt collection companies:
- Pioneer of Horseheads, New York
- CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa
- Performant of Livermore, California
- Conserve of Fairport, New York
The IRS may have seen this as an appropriate and convenient measure, but it makes consumers more vulnerable to tax collection scams. As one previously knew to simply hang up after receiving a call from an entity other than the IRS regarding owed taxes, it is no longer so simple. Chances are that most people aren’t aware of the changes in tax collection and the few who do know are likely unaware of what companies, in particular, the IRS enlisted.
Even if you are not up to date on IRS updates, know that scammers are. They will likely continue to make their fraudulent tax collection calls, but when questioned by curious consumers, they can cite factual information that the IRS outsourced debt collection. Unknowing individuals may comply with their demands for payment, assuming that the company they’re speaking with is one entrusted by the IRS.
How to Spot a Scammer
The IRS understands that many phony debt collectors make a living off of getting individuals to pay non-existing debts. To keep you from becoming another victim, the IRS provided a list of five things they say they’ll never do:
- Request debit or credit card info over the phone
- Make arrest threats to get you to pay
- Suggest a specific payment method (ex. prepaid debit card)
- Call demanding immediate payment or call period without first mailing a bill
- Disallow you from questioning or appealing the amount owed
Although the IRS says they will never participate in such conduct, outsourced debt collection efforts have resulted in FDCPA violations in the past and can happen again. If you believe a debt collector has violated your consumer rights, reach out to the Florida FDCPA attorneys at The Law offices at Jibrael S. Hindi. You have the right to collect up to $1,000 per FDCPA violation! Under the FDCPA, the defendant (debt collectors) must pay your attorney fees if they have violated the law. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. You pay nothing until Jibrael wins for you!