The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers of an unusual phishing scheme that is going around this tax season. Using stolen data obtained by tax professionals, criminals are filing fraudulent tax returns and depositing them into actual taxpayers’ bank accounts. The criminals are then using a variety of tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayer. The criminals have been reported to use phone calls, emails and web sites to make the scheme more elaborate. In one scenario of the scam, criminals posed as a debt collection agency pretending to be the IRS. They then contacted the taxpayer to say that a refund was mistakenly deposited into their account and asked the taxpayer to forward the money to the collection agency.  Another scenario occurred where a taxpayer who received the deposited refund got an automated call from the criminal pretending to be the IRS. The criminal threatened the taxpayer with fraud charges and an arrest warrant if they did not release the funds to them.

The IRS is urging all taxpayers to be aware of scams this tax season. If you noticed an unexpected deposit in your bank account, the IRS has released instructions on what to do which can be found at https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/scam-alert-irs-urges-taxpayers-to-watch-out-for-erroneous-refunds-beware-of-fake-calls-to-return-money-to-a-collection-agency.

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