The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued a warning for a quickly growing scam involving taxpayers. An original alert was issued February 2, however the number of victims jumped from a few hundred to several thousands in just a couple of days.
The IRS Criminal Investigation division is investigating just how deep and far-reaching this scheme is. The new scam is actually just a new twist on a scam they’ve used before. These criminals have stolen client data from email phishing that secretly download malicious software that help the cyber criminals steal taxpayer information. These scammers will then file a fraudulent tax return using the taxpayers’ real bank account for the deposit.
There are several versions of the scam. In one scam, criminals pose as a debt collection agency official acting on behalf of the IRS. They explain the IRS erroneously deposited a refund to the taxpayer and they tell the taxpayer to forward the money to their collection agency.
In another version, the taxpayer gets an automated call with a recording saying this is the IRS and threatens the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant and blacklisting of their Social Security Number. The recording then gives the taxpayer a case number and telephone number to call to return the refund.
Tax-related identity theft is becoming common and these scammers are raking in millions filing fraudulent tax returns for unsuspecting taxpayers.
The real IRS is urging taxpayers to follow established procedures for returning an erroneous refund to the agency. They also encourage taxpayers if they receive a call like the ones described above, to go to their bank and discuss closing that account and opening another. These scammers have the taxpayers’ account information and most probably can access the account.
This time of the year is the peak time for scammers to hit taxpayers. If you file electronically and your tax return is rejected, it’s likely a scammer has already filed for you. If you find yourself a victim, report it to the IRS immediately. You will have to fill out Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit stating you were a victim.
If you discover a fraudulent refund, and that refund was a direct deposit into your account, contact your bank and have the bank return the refund. If you receive a fraudulent refund by way of a paper check, write “Void” on the bank, then mail the check to your local IRS. Explain in a note you are returning an erroneous refund check. If you have received a paper check from the IRS and you have already cashed it, call the IRS at 800 929-1040.
Remember, the IRS will never initiate contact with a taxpayer by email, text message, phone or social media.
If you need help with filing taxes, tax audits, tax litigation, or tax settlements with the IRS, contact our experienced tax lawyers in Denver, Colorado for immediate legal assistance and your best options.
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