Adding to Uncertainty for Scam Targets, the IRS Now Allows Private Debt Collectors to Dun Taxpayers







In a move that could be confusing to seniors who are vulnerable to scams, the IRS will begin using private debt collection agencies to collect past-due taxes. The new program will begin in April 2017.


Authorized by a law Congress passed in December 2015, the IRS may now contract with private debt collectors to collect certain debts. The private collection agencies can work on accounts in which the taxpayer owes money, but the IRS is no longer actively working on the account, perhaps because the account is older or the IRS does not have resources to continue pursuing it.


Historically, scammers have posed as the IRS to target seniors and other vulnerable adults to retrieve identifying information or payment. Up till now, tax professionals have been able to reassure clients that the IRS would never harass consumers over the phone. However, under this new rule, private debt collectors may contact taxpayers by phone, which may make it more difficult to determine whether a scammer is targeting the taxpayer.  


The IRS will notify taxpayers by mail if it is turning their case over to a private debt collector. In addition, the debt collector is required to send a written notice once it receives the taxpayer’s information. The collection agencies are required to abide by debt collection laws, which prevent debt collectors from harassing consumers. 


The IRS has contracted with four debt collection companies:

  • Conserve, 200 CrossKeys Office Park, Fairport, NY 14450
  • Pioneer, 325 Daniel Zenker Dr, Horseheads, NY 14845
  • Performant, 333 N Canyons Pkwy, Livermore, CA 94551
  • CBE Group, 1309 Technology Pkwy, Cedar Falls, IA 50613


To avoid scams, remember that private collection agencies will only ask for payments to be made online at or by check. Checks should be made payable to the U.S. Treasury and sent directly to the IRS, not the private collection agency. The collection agency will not ask for payment on a prepaid debit, iTunes or gift card.


For more information about the new program, check out this website:


If you receive a phone call that you suspect may be a scam, do not give out any personal information and immediately contact your local police department. 


4 thoughts on “Adding to Uncertainty for Scam Targets, the IRS Now Allows Private Debt Collectors to Dun Taxpayers

  1. As a Naperville/Lisle Triad member, we try so hard to alert and educate seniors about scams and fraud. This new law will only add to the confusion. Another example of “Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back.” I’m sure there will be those who prey on seniors take advantage of this. Thank you for notifying me on this and I will pass this information to friends, family and of course Triad members. Thank you.

    Rose Toia

    • Strohschein Law Group has the same concerns as you, Rose. Let’s all try and get the word out to the seniors we work so hard to protect!

  2. Elgin Twp TRIAD and Elgin Police Department spends countless hours educating our seniors as to the IRS scam calls. This is very frustrating and discouraging to hear. This will absolutely mean more seniors will be scammed.

    • We will definitely have to get the word out about this change to try and protect our Seniors! Cherie, let’s brainstorm on ways Elgin Township TRIAD and the Elgin Police Department can be proactive.

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