Hi, I’m Patti, and I work for IRS. Do you owe taxes? Well, you may hear from a private collection firm contacting you on our behalf. So, how will you know if it’s an IRS authorized collector calling you and not a scammer? Here’s how you can tell if it’s legitimate. Before you hear from any collection company, you will always get a letter from the IRS first. It will say your account was assigned to a collection firm and how to contact them. Then, that company will send you a letter. After that, this company can call you and tell you that they are calling on behalf of the IRS. Now, for your protection, there will be information in those letters that will help you verify that calls from a collection firm are actually real. So be sure to keep these letters. When you make your payment, keep in mind it can only be made to the IRS or the U. S. Treasury, never to the collection firm or an individual. And you will not be asked to pay with a pre-paid debit card, such as a gift or iTunes card, or wire transfer. If anyone else besides the company listed in your letter from us calls you about your debt, it’s a scam. Just hang up. Keep in mind, you don’t’ have to wait until you hear from us or the collection firm to pay your taxes. You can make payments or apply for a payment agreement directly with us on irs.gov/payments. Here is a simple rule for all taxpayers: You won’t hear from a private collection firm unless you have unpaid tax debts going back several years, and you have already heard from the IRS multiple times about this debt. So, if you know you are current on your taxes, and you get a call demanding you pay an overdue federal tax bill, it’s a scam. For more information about private debt collection of overdue taxes, go to IRS.gov and type “private debt collection” in the search field.