If Contacted by the IRS About a Debt, Your First Call Should be to Your Lawyer

When you owe money to the IRS, eventually they will come calling. This time of year in particular often sees heavy debt collection efforts. Many taxpayers will find themselves being contacted by the IRS. It is important to respond promptly and not ignore the problem in hopes that it will go away, as this often makes the situation worse. Unfortunately, some scam artists know this and attempt to use it to their advantage. For this reason, it is crucial to contact your attorney after the IRS, or someone purporting to be from the IRS, reaches out to you regarding payment of unpaid tax debt.

IRS Tax Debt Collection Scams

How can you tell that the person contacting you is a scam artist rather than someone truly from the IRS? The following are nine characteristics of the IRS tax debt collection scams:

  • You may be told that you owe money to the IRS that must be paid right away.
  • The scammer may tell you that you need to pay using a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer.
  • If you do not cooperate, you may be threatened with arrest, suspension of a business, or suspension of a driver’s license.
  • The scammer will likely use a fake name and a fake IRS badge number.
  • The scammer may be able to recite the last four digits of your social security number.
  • The phone number that shows up on your caller ID could still be the IRS toll-free number even though the call is a scam.
  • As a follow-up to the phone calls, you may receive fake emails claiming to be from the same IRS officer.
  • You may hear background noise during the call that leads you to believe that you are truly being contacted from an IRS call site.
  • In some cases, if you do not cooperate, the scammer may call back pretending to be the local police or department of motor vehicles.

Fortunately, by contacting your attorney before engaging too far, you can ensure that you are truly working with the appropriate party regarding your unpaid tax debt. Your lawyer will know right away whether you are working with an IRS representative or an imposter. To learn more about dealing with IRS tax debt problems, we encourage you to check out our free guide, The Ultimate Survival Guide for IRS Problems.