In a recent blog post, we discussed what to do when debt collectors call you by phone to request payment of your debts. Under the FDCPA, you have the right not to be contacted via phone. But, you must exercise this right by informing debt collectors of your desire not to be called. If you fail to do so, you can be sure that you will continue to receive calls from debt collectors, sometimes on a daily basis. If you don’t already know from experience, debt collectors can and will be ruthless, particularly by phone, in their attempts to get your money.
However, there is one debt collector that will never contact you by phone to demand immediate payment. The federal government, specifically the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), will never call you to demand payment of your outstanding tax debts or to verify your identity by asking personal financial information. Nor will the IRS ever demand payment from you without allowing you a formal opportunity to challenge to accuracy of the amount allegedly owed. Significantly, the IRS (if it does call you) will never threaten to have you immediately arrested for the non-payment of taxes.
Nevertheless, many people do not know about these rules and have been scammed into paying millions of dollars to frauds and con artists who have called consumers over the phone claiming to be the IRS. Those contacted by these frauds were threatened with arrest if they did not immediately pay the amount claimed to be owed.
Aware of these phone scams, the IRS has asked that if you are contacted by someone claiming to be the IRS who demands money or wants personal information to verify your identity, you do not reveal any information and report the call to the IRS by calling (800) 366-4484, or by using their Scam Reporting system.
It is important to be mindful of the fact that the IRS will never call you to demand payment or request personal financial information from you over the phone to verify your identity. If someone tries to do so, make sure not to give them any information and hang-up immediately. Otherwise, past-due taxes will be the least of your problems – you can have your identity stolen or be defrauded for thousands of dollars.
If you owe past-due taxes to the federal government, have fallen behind on bills due to financial hardship or have any other debt-related issues, you need the help of an experienced debtor rights attorney—like those at Fitzgerald Campbell—to review your case and discuss your options with you. Our attorneys have decades of experience representing clients in all types of debtor defense matters and we are here to help you!