The IRS is warning taxpayers of a rapidly growing scam involving erroneous tax refunds being deposited into their bank accounts. The agency issued this new warning after learning that more tax practitioner computer files have been breached, raising the number of potential victims of this scheme from a few hundred to several thousand in just days.
After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, the criminals deposit the refund in the taxpayer’s bank account and then use various tactics to reclaim the funds.
In one version of the scam, criminals posing as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS contacted the taxpayer to say a refund was deposited in error and they should forward the money to their collection agency.
In another tactic, the taxpayer gets an automated call purportedly from the IRS threatening criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant and a “blacklisting” of their Social Security number. The recorded voice gives the taxpayer a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund.
While the IRS generally does not call taxpayers, private collection agencies do make calls leaving some taxpayers confused and vulnerable to scams. NTEU continues to support legislation that would stop the use of private tax collectors. Take action
Learn more about the scam and get step-by-step instructions for returning the funds.