FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --The folks at the Better Business Bureau are fielding lots of questions and complaints this time of year.
One way scammers operate is to pose as collection agents for the IRS and demand payment for back taxes or else. But, as Better Business Bureau Spokesperson Kayleena Speekman tells us, IRS collectors only call those who are years behind on their taxes and who have received plenty of notice.
"So it's not going to be a surprise and if you get a phone call that is a surprise to you know that it is a scammer, not the collection agency that is working with the IRS."
The IRS is now using collection agencies for a small number of long term delinquencies. But even if you are in that category, a request for payments to anyplace other than the United States Department of the Treasury is a scam.
"When you pay, you will not pay to the collection agency. You make your check out to the US Treasury, mail it to the IRS, and if you pay online it's only through the IRS website," said Speekman.
Scammers are not just posing as tax collectors; they are also pretending to be working for utility companies.
"Targeting minority owned businesses where they will call them and say you owe X amount of money to PG&E, if you don't pay in the next 15 minutes your power is going to be shut off," said Denny Boyle, PG&E.
Boyle said utility workers won't be knocking on your door to collect.
"If your bill is late you will get a standard notices from us, there will be letters, you will get a 15 day notice if your late, you will get a 48 hour notice if your late, we are not going to tell you to go to the grocery store and get a pre-paid card."
These phony calls are occurring throughout the Valley and if you have questions you can contact the Better Business Bureau. If you get a suspicious payment demand from a utility company contact PG&E or Edison and contact your local law enforcement agency.