BBB: The IRS may be calling if you owe taxes — here’s how to know you’re not being scammed…

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AKRON, Ohio — The Better Business Bureau is issuing a warning to taxpayers — saying the IRS may be calling them about unpaid tax debts this year.

According to a press release from the BBB, the IRS is putting into effect new safeguards to try to block identity theft, including delayed refunds.

As a new addition to the collection process, the IRS will now deal with unpaid taxes by using third-party private collection agencies to call taxpayers.

The four companies that are contracted by the IRS are:
— CBE Group
— Conserve
— Performant
— Pioneer

All are BBB accredited businesses. If taxpayers do get a call from the IRS, it’s recommended they verify that it’s legitimate by being aware of the differences between the real IRS and a skilled scammer.

A scammer may try to give the taxpayer badge and case numbers to sound legitimate.

The IRS will send out letters by mail, so if a taxpayer receives an IRS call, it is likely they were already aware if there is a valid reason.

The BBB says it continues to receive scam reports from consumers reporting phone threats where the caller claims the taxpayer will be arrested by the IRS unless they pay their taxes immediately. Often callers will claim they are reporting from the U.S. Treasury and have issued a warrant for the taxpayer’s arrest.

In an opposite approach, scammers have claimed to have a “free government grant” the taxpayer can receive if they provide personal information.

The BBB says a quick way to verify a caller’s identity is to call the IRS back directly. Another common trend that will help track a scammer is failure to use your name or information.

BBB suggests hanging up if a scam is expected. If taxpayers receive a threat regarding immediate payment, it’s recommended they hang up and report the scam to police and the local BBB.

For more tips, click here.