GREENSBORO, N.C. - What's the number one scam in the country? Too easy! It’s the IRS phone scam of course. The one where schemers pretend to be from the IRS saying you owe back taxes. It’s already huge, but 2 Wants To Know found lawmakers may have made it even worse.
At a Congressional hearing some of the top experts in the country came in, looked congress straight in the face, and said they made the problem worse. It used to be the IRS would NEVER call you without sending a letter first. That was the advice everyone gave to avoid being scammed. But a few months ago Congress made it where third party debt collectors could call you on behalf of the IRS. It made it easier for the IRS to collect money from those who haven't paid up. However, it made things really confusing to know which calls were legit and which calls were scams.
Experts like the Attorney General of Pennsylvania are begging congress to change the law again.
“Our job was easier, our job in law enforcement was easier before congress gave the authority for these third parties to go out and make calls for collection. I would respectfully urge this body to go out and revisit that,” he said.
Even one of the Senators on the committee acknowledged the challenges the new law creates. Here's Susan Collins of Maine:
“We too advised seniors that one way they could tell it was a scam was that the IRS would never call,” Collins said. “And were going to have to re-write all of our fraud book materials. And our postcards. So I think that is a good point.”
So here's how to tell now if the call you're getting is real or bogus. Scammers ask you pay with an I-tunes gift card or something like that. Or maybe even a money transfer to their bank account. The real debt collectors for the IRS will only want you to pay through the IRS portal online or through a check made out to the US Treasury.