The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning taxpayers about a new, multi-layer scam this tax season: erroneous refunds. Criminals are filing fraudulent returns to get money deposited into victims’ accounts using data stolen from tax professionals, then posing as debt collection agency officials to request that the victims “return” the money due to an error. Other victims are receiving recorded messages threatening the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges and other consequences if the erroneous refund is not returned.
This latest scam creates several issues for taxpayers. If a fraudulent return was filed using your Social Security number, then your legitimate tax return may be rejected. The IRS’ guide to identity theft, including how to correct it, is available here. If you receive an erroneous refund, the IRS has several ways for you to safely return the money, listed here.