Chances are you or someone you know has received a phone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS. If you haven’t first received an actual letter in the mail from the IRS, these calls are fraudulent and should be reported. (Taxpayers can register a complaint at the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Go to and click “Contact,” or call 1-800-366-4484).

According to Amanda Horowitz, in April 2017, the IRS did begin a new private collections program of certain overdue federal taxes. These outstanding debts were turned over to four collections agencies: the CBE Group, ConServe, Performant Recovery and Pioneer Credit Recovery. If you have overdue federal taxes, it is possible that you will be contacted by one of these collection agencies. Horowitz cautions taxpayers to keep in mind that, before you are contacted by phone by one of these agencies, you will first:
-have received a letter from the IRS, letting you know your account has been turned over to one of the agencies above;
-have received a letter from the specific collections agency.
It is important to note that both of these letters will contain a unique 10-digit identifier used to verify your identity.

Please remember these collections agencies will NOT demand immediate payment using prepaid debit cards, gift cards or iTunes cards, ask for your credit or debit card number over the phone, threaten to involve local authorities, or demand that checks be made out to the collections agency. In fact, a valid collections agency will tell you your check should ONLY be made out to the IRS or the United States Treasury.

Horowitz details what taxpayers should be able to expect from collections agencies and additional taxpayer rights at: