As you know, if you owe the IRS money they are going to attempt to collect from you sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, online con artists are well aware of this fact as well. Over the past few years, many IRS debt collection scams have popped up. Despite all the warnings, some people have fallen prey to these scams and, in turn, lost a lot of money along the way.

The basic gist of this scam is simple: a con artist poses as the IRS, looking to collect debt. In short, they are hoping that unsuspecting people will give up their personal and/or financial information over the phone or via email. Since many people are afraid of what the IRS may do to them, they are quick to provide information to anybody who says they are with the organization.

To make things more difficult, the IRS has a program that employs private debt collection agencies to pursue back taxes. Fortunately, they have done a good job alerting taxpayers and making sure they know how to identify a legitimate operation that is working on behalf of the IRS.

To ensure that you do not get involved with one of these scams, it is essential to know how the IRS alerts taxpayers.

1. Taxpayers that are part of the private debt collection program will be noticed by the IRS. If you have yet to receive a notice telling you that you will be contacted by an outside organization you should be skeptical of anybody who gets in touch with you regarding your tax debt.

2. The IRS will send a letter stating that a private debt collection agency will be contacting you. The letter will include all the important details, such as the debt collector's name and contact information.

3. A letter from the agency in charge of collecting the debt. Once the IRS sends you a letter the debt collection agency will follow-up with one of their own. Tip: an agency working on behalf of the IRS is not going to request that you send a check or cash to a particular individual. If somebody asks you to make a check out to them this is a red flag.

4. All checks will be made payable to the US Treasury. Even if an outside organization is collecting your debt for the IRS, they are still required to have all checks made out to the US Treasury.

Are you worried that you are being targeted by a con artist? If so, contact the IRS before you talk about your situation with anybody. You can visit then online at or call 800-829-1040.

The IRS will never ask you for credit card information, bank account numbers, passwords, or PIN numbers. A company that does this is one that is trying to scam you.

It is unfortunate that there are so many IRS debt collection scams that you must watch out for. Now that you know how they work, you should be able to avoid any issues.