This month’s scam comes directly from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The IRS has identified an existing scam in which cybercriminals have stolen client data from tax professionals and have filed fraudulent refunds using real taxpayer information, including bank account and routing information for direct deposit.
What is new is that the fraudster then contacts the taxpayer posing as an employee of a debt collection agency working on behalf of the IRS. They ask the taxpayer to take certain steps to return the refund, which actually goes to the criminals.
The IRS is advising taxpayers to contact their financial institution where the direct deposit was received and have them return the refund to the IRS. Taxpayers can contact the agency at their main number (800) 829-1040 for individual returns and (800) 829-4933 for business returns.
The IRS will never contact taxpayers by phone or by e-mail. Any such contact should be considered a scam and immediately purged.