A new tax scam is building momentum and it has the IRS warning taxpayers to watch their bank accounts. If you see a refund it may not be yours.
Scammers find a variety of techniques to try to separate a taxpayer from their money or the government from its money and this false deposit scam goes to great lengths to do just that.
Scammers steal taxpayer information from tax professionals including name, social security number and past deductions or refund information and then file a fraudulent tax return in that person’s name for a refund.
“That money is being deposited into a taxpayer’s real bank account, like a direct deposit,” said David Tucker with the IRS.
As a follow up, criminals contact the taxpayer.
“They [scammers] pose themselves as a debt collection agency working on behalf of the IRS and that the taxpayer received a refund in error and that the taxpayer then needs to forward the money to the collection agency which is in fact a scam.”
Tucker adds, “Someone either calls you directly, you find money in your bank account that you did not anticipate and it’s claiming to be from the US Treasury Department. Or, you get an email or a social media contact claiming to be from the IRS, I would contact the IRS directly. These scammers can spoof phone lines and false credentials.”
The number of victims is increasing by the thousands and the scam could continue to change.
If this happens to you it’s imperative to get the money back to the IRS not to a malicious collector and contact your financial institution to possibly close your accounts.
For more insight on fake calls to return money, visit the IRS page listed here.
Tax professionals are urged to secure their data. Find out how.
Find the IRS taxpayer guide to identity theft here.