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Consumer Alert: IRS hires private debt collectors

The IRS announced Tuesday, April 4, 2017, that it has hired four private collection agencies to start demanding payment -- a strategy that's failed twice before. (WJAR)

For years, NBC 10 has been warning that callers who demand payment for unpaid taxes are scamming you.

Now, those calls might be legitimate.

The IRS announced Tuesday that it has hired four private collection agencies to start demanding payment -- a strategy that's failed twice before.

Taxpayers who owe the IRS money will first receive letters from these private collection agencies.

If the taxpayer doesn't respond, a phone call will follow.

Those phone calls can open the door to scammers, who are already calling taxpayers and demanding payment.

So how do you know if a letter or phone call is legit?

It will come from one of four agencies:

  • CBE in Waterloo, IA
  • ConServe in Fairport, NY
  • Performant in Pleasanton, CA
  • Pioneer in Horseheads, NY

Legitimate debt collectors also won't ask you to pay your overdue taxes with pre-paid debit, iTunes card or gift card.

If in doubt, call your local IRS office:

  • Providence, RI: 401-525-4282
  • Warwick, RI: 401-826-4797
  • Brockton, MA: 508-586-4671
  • New London, CT: 860-439-7963

The IRS says a few hundred taxpayers can expect letters and phone calls for unpaid taxes starting this week.

Thousands of delinquent taxpayers will start receiving notifications over the next few weeks.

For more information about the change, click here.

To pay off overdue federal taxes,click here.

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