The Iowa Attorney General’s Office says that for once, a caller claiming to be working on behalf of the Internal Revenue Service may not be a scammer, but instead a legitimate private debt contractor.
Last month the IRS Private Debt Collection Program went into effect. Congress enacted the law in 2015, authorizing the federal agency to use private collections firms to call people who owe overdue taxes.
The debts targeted in this program are older, past-due balances the IRS is no longer actively seeking to collect.
The Iowa AG’s office says before a person receives a phone call, the IRS first sends a letter notifying that individual a private debt collector will be contacting them. When a collector calls, they’ll identify themself as an independent contractor for the IRS.
These collections firms will not receive or process any payments. Instead they’ll direct people to make out checks to the U.S. Treasury Department and then mail these checks to the IRS.
The four companies the IRS has contacted are the CBE Group of Cedar Falls, IA, California-based Performant, and the New York-based companies Conserve and Pioneer.