New Tax Scam Methods: "Erroneous Tax Refunds"


Thieves are using phishing and other schemes to steal client data from tax professionals. Then, using that data, they file fraudulent tax returns and use the taxpayers' real bank accounts to deposit erroneous tax refunds. Finally, the thieves, posing as IRS or other law enforcement, call attention to the error and ask taxpayers to return the money to them.

Why are thieves going to such lengths? They know it is more difficult to identify and halt fraudulent tax returns when they are using real client data such as income, dependents, credits, and deductions. Additionally, it's harder to track when criminals can find alternative ways to get the fraudulent refunds delivered to themselves rather than the real taxpayers - no more stealing checks out of mailboxes.


If this happens to you - and you do have a bogus tax refund in your bank account - here's how the IRS wants you to return the funds and avoid being scammed:

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Five Things To Know About Identity Theft (Forbes)

With tax season in full swing, identity-theft-related tax fraud has become a hot topic. While taking steps to protect yourself from identity theft is always smart, it's important that you don't get too caught up in the hype. I've received a number of emails from panicked taxpayers who, after watching various news spots on the dangers of identity-theft-related tax fraud, are feeling confused and pressured. Unfortunately, some of the advice making the rounds - while certainly sensational - isn't very practical. Here are five things you need to know about identity theft and tax returns:

  1. Not all data breaches or computer hacks result in identity-theft-related tax fraud.

  2. Filing early doesn't prevent identity theft.

  3. Rushing to file an incomplete return isn't a good strategy.

  4. Not every taxpayer needs an IP PIN.

  5. An IP PIN isn't a one-time fix.

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