AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The IRS is warning resident about a new tax scam that is circulating in an effort to keep you and your finances safe.
The scam starts out as an erroneous return, that the taxpayer will then pay back out of their own pocket.
Criminals start by collecting client data from tax professionals. The stolen date includes sensitive information like names, social security numbers and bank accounts.
The stolen information allows some to file a fraudulent tax return in a person's name, and can even allow them to deposit a "fake" check.
The erroneous check however, has no real value.
From there, the criminal can manipulate the scam to target an individual. The scam can be seen in two different forms.
In the first form, criminals pose as a debt collectors from an agency that appears legitimate.
They contact a taxpayer, and tell them a refund that was deposited in to their account was done so out of error.
They ask the individual to write a check, refunding the money back to their "fake" collection agency.
The second form involves a crafted phone call.
The taxpayer will receive an automated call from a representative claiming to be from the IRS.
The representative will tell the individual the deposit was a mistake, and will then threaten the person with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant and "blacklisting" their social security number if they don't repay the incorrect return.
The resident is then issued a fraudulent case number and telephone number tat will allow them to return the refund.
To avoid potentially being scammed, the IRS is offering certified ways to return a refund.
If the erroneous check was given via direct deposit:
- Contact the Automated Clearing House (ACH) of your bank and ask them to refund the check to the IRS.
- Call the IRS toll-free at (800) 829-1040 or (800) 829-4933 to explain why the deposit is being returned.
If the erroneous check was a paper check and has not been cashed:
- Write "VOID" in the endorsement section on the back of the check.
- Submit the check immediately to your regional IRS location.
- Do not staple, bend or paper clip the check.
- Include a note stating the reasons for the return.
If the erroneous check was a paper check and has been cashed:
- Submit a personal check, money order, etc., to your regional IRS location.
- Write on the check: Payment of Erroneous Refund. Include the tax period, your taxpayer identification number (social security number, employer identification number, etc.)
- If you no longer have access to the check, contact the IRS and explain to them why you believe you need to repay a refund.
- If repayment is done in this manner, it will attract the attention of the IRS, who will investigate the claim and check its legitimacy.
For residents in the Panhandle, the regional tax office is located in Austin.
That address is: Internal Revenue Service, 3651 South Interregional Highway 35, Austin, TX 78741.
The IRS also recommends taxpayers file as early as possible. They claim that is the best way to avoid getting scammed.