Tax preparer and refund fraud increases

Tax preparer and refund fraud increases

The Internal Revenue Service is warning people of a new scam involving phony refunds.

Erb says the IRS just detected the scam at the beginning of February after several hundred complaints from taxpayers.

The scam is growing quickly and has already affected thousands. Then, the scammers use various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayer.

In one version of the new scam, criminals pose as debt collection agents acting on behalf of the IRS.

A number is also left for the victim to call regarding their information on returning their tax refund. The recorded voice gives the taxpayer a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund.

Officials also warn the public that the first form of communication from the real source will always be through mail or email and never, a direct phone call.

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Criminals are using stolen client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, using the taxpayers' real bank accounts for the deposit, according to an IRS press release.

How to validate identity - Taxpayers who need to call the IRS with questions about their account should be prepared to verify their identity.

Here are the official ways to return an erroneous refund to the IRS, according to their website.

Taxpayers who claim the Earned Income Tax Credit or the Additional Child Tax Credit may experience a refund hold. The tax topic contains full details, including mailing addresses should there be a need to return paper checks.

By law, the agency can not release any refund containing the EITC or ACTC before mid-February. They will tell you that there is a refund that you are not entitled to that is in your account or in your mailbox and they give you instructions to return it but it gets returned to the thieves instead of the IRS.

Write "Void" in the endorsement section on the back of the check.

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