The IRS has issued a new warning to taxpayers regarding a fast-growing tax refund scam. Thieves with stolen taxpayer, employer, and tax preparer data file fraudulent returns and use the taxpayers’ real bank accounts for the bogus refunds. The scammers then use various tricks to get the taxpayer to send it to them.
New tactics are evolving every day. Some common ones include include:
Pretending to be a debt collection agency working with the IRS and demanding the taxpayer hand over the ‘mistaken’ refund
Pretending to be an IRS agent and threatening the taxpayer with criminal charges, suspension of licenses, deportation, etc. to get them to forward the money
If you receive a call from someone claiming to be working on behalf of the IRS:
Do not give them any information whatsoever before confirming their legitimacy. The caller may know a shocking amount about you when trying to convince you to hand over information or money. Take down their name, badge number, and call back number and call the IRS directly at 800-366-4484 to verify their identity. The IRS will never call or email as their first means of communication. You will always be sent a notice through the mail first.
If you receive a refund you shouldn’t have, take immediate action.
The quicker your response is the less likely you are to be a victim of theft or IRS penalties.
- Follow the IRS instructions for returning an erroneous refund.
- Contact the IRS for information on filling out an Identity Theft Affidavit.
- Check your credit reports and your Chexsystems report for fraud. These reports can be obtained for free from each bureau once every 12 months.
If you receive a refund and haven’t yet filed, in addition to the above steps you will need to file on paper by mail and include Form 14037 Identity Theft Affidavit.