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irsThe Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers of a scam in which erroneous refunds are deposited into their accounts. The agency also is providing detailed steps about how to return the funds.

After the Security Summit issued an alert on February 2, the number of potential victims jumped from a few hundred to several thousand in a few days.

Under the new twist on an old scam, criminals steal client data from tax professionals and filing returns and then use taxpayers real bank accounts to deposit refunds. They then use a number of tactics to have the taxpayers send them the refunds.

Sometimes criminals pose as a debt collection agency acting on behalf of the IRS. They inform the taxpayer the refund was deposited in error and ask the money be forwarded to the bogus collection agency.

In another version, the target receives an automated telephone call claimed to be from the IRS and the taxpayer is threatened with criminal fraud charges. The recorded voice provides a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund.

Direction for returning refunds are given by Tax Topic Number 161 - Returning an Erroneous Refund. This explains steps for returning direct deposits, paper checks, which have not been cashed and those which have.

Last modified on Wednesday, 21 February 2018
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