The Internal Revenue Service warned taxpayers of a scam involving erroneous tax refunds being deposited into bank accounts.
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. Then, the scammers use various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayer.
In one version, criminals pose as a debt collection agency official acting on behalf of the IRS claiming the refund was deposited in error and asking the taxpayer to forward the money to the agency.
In another version, the taxpayer who received the refund will get an automated call claiming to be from the IRS and threatens the taxpayer with criminal charges, arrest or blacklisting their social security number unless the refund is returned.
The IRS urges taxpayers to follow established procedures for returning erroneous refunds. Also, the agency encourages you to discuss the issue with your financial institution because a bank account may need to be closed.
Here are the official ways to return an erroneous refund to the IRS.