A Google AdWords Help thread has several AdWords customers claiming they've been contacted by a third-party debt collector allegedly contracted by Google.
The debt collection agency's name is Access Credit Management Ltd and they are based in the UK.
It comes in the form of an email and it looks pretty legit. It does first ask you to login to Google AdWords, without providing a link (which is not typical of a phishing email), and it then gives the option to pay them directly. It says over and over again that they can contact Google to confirm this is legit.
Here is copy of the email, click on it to enlarge:
Ita from Google responded in the thread that they will look into this specific debt collector to make sure they are legit but added:
We do have a third party Collections team and debt collection agencies working on our behalf in the UK. However, it's always better to err on the side of caution before passing any banking details to a third party. It's good to know our Collections team might look for a proof of payment but they'll never take a payment/ payment instrument details from you.
So Google does use third-party debt collectors but you should be cautious when you get emails like this.
Forum discussion at Google AdWords Help.
Image credit to BigStockPhoto