A sneaky scam involving tax refunds is spreading, and it means you need to keep a close eye on your bank account.
There are several variations of the scam: unexpected refund deposits to your bank account using compromised bank routing information, suspicious paper checks coming in the mail and, in one case reported in Maryland, a fraudulent refund check that appeared to have been deposited using a smartphone.
According to the IRS, the victim will then receive a call or recorded message saying they need to return the funds to a collection agency, which is actually the scam account.
If you pay the scammers, you will get a double-whammy hit to your bank account when the IRS or your bank realizes that the deposit was bogus and withdraws the funds.
The number of victims jumped from a few hundred to a few thousand in just days after more tax practitioner data breaches, according to the IRS.
The IRS has these recommendations to avoid getting scammed:
If you notice a suspicious deposit, contact your bank to have the money returned to the IRS and call the IRS at 800-829-1040.
If you receive a paper check, write “void” in the endorsement field on the back and return it to the location printed on the check.
If you mistakenly cashed the erroneous refund check, submit a check for the full amount to the IRS location near you.
- ANDOVER – Internal Revenue Service, 310 Lowell Street, Andover MA 01810
- ATLANTA – Internal Revenue Service, 4800 Buford Highway, Chamblee GA 30341
- AUSTIN – Internal Revenue Service, 3651 South Interregional Highway 35, Austin TX 78741
- BRKHAVN – Internal Revenue Service, 5000 Corporate Ct., Holtsville NY 11742
- CNCNATI – Internal Revenue Service, 201 West Rivercenter Blvd., Covington KY 41011
- FRESNO – Internal Revenue Service, 5045 East Butler Avenue, Fresno CA 93727
- KANS CY – Internal Revenue Service, 333 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City MO 64108-4302
- MEMPHIS – Internal Revenue Service, 5333 Getwell Road, Memphis TN 38118
- OGDEN – Internal Revenue Service, 1973 Rulon White Blvd., Ogden UT 84201
- PHILA – Internal Revenue Service, 2970 Market St., Philadelphia PA 19104