IRS warns of new scam around wrong tax refund deposits

New scam involving tax returns

Prepare taxes as soon as possible

A victim of such scams who sees an erroneous refund appear in his account should contact his tax preparer immediately, the IRS said. A criminal, posing as a debt collector, then contacted the taxpayers saying the refunds had been sent in error and the victims should forward the money to the crook. The agency assumes that the data was compromised because some preparers were taken in by phishing scams that then loaded malicious software onto their computer systems, making all the taxpayer information that was kept by these preparers vulnerable to theft.

The modus operandi assures a degree of safety to them given that it is more hard to identify and halt fraudulent tax returns when they are using real client data such as income, dependents, credits, and deductions.

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"After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers' real bank accounts for the deposit", the IRS said in a statement.

The IRS said it's still in preliminary stages of investigating the con and can't quantify how many people have been affected. "Whenever you have to deal with the IRS it takes a while to get things done but they will get it resolved as long as obviously they can prove who they are and that a return was filed fraudulently".

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Every year, people fall victim to IRS tax scams. "I learned not to answer the phone unless I recognize the number". The taxpayer's 1040 must then be filed on paper, with the fraud affidavit attached to the front. The agency hopes this will help it spot and stop identity thieves before they take off with taxpayer refunds.

"We have stepped up our defenses, and the private sector tax community has worked to strengthen their security too", Lemons said. "My office is here to protect you, help you avoid being scammed, and go after these scammers anywhere we find them". If any of your W-2 forms contain the new 16-digit identifiers, also make sure to include that number on your tax return.

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