Convincing IRS Scam That Could Cost Your Entire Tax Refund

February 28, 2018

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Savvy scammers are working overtime this spring with a pretty sophisticated scam involving your tax refund.  Here is how it works.  To your surprise, a large deposit of cash into your bank account from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), even though you haven't filed your taxes yet.  Shortly after the deposit, you'll receive a phone call from a "collection agency" stating they’re working on behalf of the IRS and that those funds were sent to you in error and you must return the fund immediately. It’s a clever scheme because the money is, in fact, in your account, and since you know it isn’t the refund you filed for, it’s easy to convince you that you need to give the money back.  But it is a scam.  Someone has stolen your identity and filed taxes on your behalf. If you return the money the way the scammer tells you over the phone, it will not go back to the IRS but into their hands.  It's such a convincing scam that the IRS has issued warnings to banks and financial professionals to watch out for phishing attacks and to beef up their security procedures. The agency traced the scam back to hackers stealing data from the computers of tax professionals, giving them access to the personal information necessary to file fraudulent tax returns. So if you get your tax refund before you've filed, you'll need to report your identity as stolen through the web site, identitytheft.gov and have your bank return the money (don't take it out and send it back yourself). Then call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040 to tell them what happened and why they’re getting their money back. If you got the refund in the form of a paper check, write “void” in the check’s endorsement section, then return it to the IRS and call them as well to let them know what happened.

SOURCE: Mental Floss

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