Do You Owe Money to the IRS? Five Ways to Spot a Collection Scam

Posted on in IRS Issues

Illinois tax attorneyMany of us have been plagued by pesky calls where an individual or a pre-recorded message warns that you owe money to the IRS. Claiming to be collection agents, these ‘representatives’ warn that you could be subject to legal actions, including arrest unless you wire them a significant amount of money immediately. These calls are a scam and if you are up to date on your returns, they may be no more than a nuisance. If you are actually behind in filing taxes or are dealing with other types of IRS issues, they are likely to cause genuine worry and concern. As this has become an increasing problem in our area as well as in other states, the IRS recently provided a list of ways taxpayers can tell the difference between a scam and a real call.

How to Spot IRS Collection Scams

Since late August of 2017, Illinois has been plagued by an increasing number of fraudulent credit collection calls. According to the Illinois News Network, these calls are often made by individuals posing as Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents, demanding immediate payment for back taxes and threatening legal actions.

Sometimes they come as pre-recorded messages, leaving voicemails that provide a return number to call. In either case, these scammers target millions of people each year and are convincing enough that even those who should otherwise know better, such as sheriff’s offices and government employees, have fallen for it.

To eliminate confusion and to protect potential victims, IRS consumer scam alerts remind taxpayers that while they may contact an individual via phone regarding a past due balance, it is not without having sent a written statement first. They never contact anyone via email, text, or social media to collect a debt. They advise that the following are five ways you can tell a call is a scam rather than a legitimate request for payment:

  • The IRS does not make demands for immediate payment.
  • They do not demand payment without giving you the opportunity to dispute the amount or file an appeal first.
  • They do not demand a specific payment method, such as a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer.
  • They will not ask for your credit or debit numbers over the phone.
  • They do not threaten to issue warrants, have you arrested, or involve local law enforcement.

If you think you owe back taxes or have unfiled tax returns, you should contact the IRS directly. To report these calls as scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website.

Let Us Help You Today

Being in trouble with the IRS and knowing you owe money for unpaid taxes or having unfiled returns leaves you vulnerable to scams from disreputable individuals and scammers. To find out ways in which you can address the situations, contact the Law Offices Of Eric G. Zelazny. An experienced Tinley Park tax debt relief attorney at our office can outline the options available to help you recover from these debts. Contact our office today and request a consultation to discuss your case.




20 North Clark Street, Suite 800
Chicago, Illinois 60602
18400 Maple Creek Drive, Suite 500
Tinley Park, Illinois 60477