Wednesday, May 30, 2007

PR nightmare in progress

Martin Bosworth

The IRS’ justly-maligned private debt collection program is back in the hot seat—this time courtesy of Brian Ross and the folks over at The Blotter:

Congressional investigators say there have been hundreds of complaints about repeated and abusive phone calls from debt collectors participating in the IRS program. Among those who have filed complaints are people in nursing homes, wives of servicemen in Iraq and low-income taxpayers facing economic hardship…Under the rules of the program, collectors cannot say they are working for the IRS and are calling about a tax matter without first receiving proof of a taxpayer’s identity. This has led to complaints from consumers saying they have received calls that sound like scams from collectors who have pressed them to provide social security numbers without identifying the purpose of the call.

This is not the political environment for that sort of thing. Expect to be called on it.

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