Scammers Are Using Your Bank Account to Rob the IRS

What do you mean I got a refund? I didn't file my taxes yet!

Did you notice a large deposit in your checking account from the IRS?

Wondering why it’s there?

If you received a refund that you weren’t expecting, beware. It is most likely a scam.

Tax scams are nothing new. A new tactic has reared its ugly head this year. It has the added twist of using the bank accounts of unsuspecting citizens to steal from the IRS.

How does it work?

First, scammers file a fake return in your name. Then they use your banking account information to request a direct deposit. Once that refund hits your account, they’ll call you pretending to be the IRS and demand repayment.

If this happens to you, don’t panic.

Instead, hang up and contact the IRS or your tax preparer to assist you.

You can reach the IRS at (800) 829-1040 if you are an individual or at (800) 829-4933 for a business return.

Sometimes the scammers will have a paper check mailed to your home from the IRS. If you didn’t file for a refund yet or if it is in a different amount than you were expecting, don’t cash that check. Write “Void” on the back and contact the IRS.

As the efforts to root out scammers increase, so do the creative ways in which scammers operate. Still, the number tax returns confirmed to be filed by scammers declined by 32% in 2017 versus 2016.

There’s no question, you’ll need to return the money to the IRS as soon as possible to avoid interest. However, it’s helpful to remember that the IRS will not initiate contact with you by phone or email. It’s better if you contact them to start the process of returning the money.

The IRS outlines the process of returning an erroneous refund on their website.

As always, SFS Tax is here to help you with any questions you may have. Jeffrey Schneider, EA, CTRS, NTPI fellow is an Enrolled Agent and is authorized by the federal government to represent you before all levels of the IRS. You can call us at (772) 337-1040 or make your appointment online today.

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