Alert: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds

February 26, 2018

The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers of a quickly growing scam involving erroneous tax refunds being deposited into their bank accounts. Criminals have a new twist on an old scam. After stealing taxpayer data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers' real bank accounts for the deposit. The thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers.

  • Criminals posing as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS contact the taxpayers to say a refund was deposited in error, and they ask the taxpayers to forward the money to their collection agency.

  • Taxpayers who received the erroneous refunds get an automated call with a recorded voice saying he is from the IRS and threatens the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant and a “blacklisting” of their Social Security Number. The recorded voice gives the taxpayer a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund.

Taxpayers should follow the steps outlined by Tax Topic Number 161 - Returning an Erroneous Refund to return an erroneous refund. For more information, see Scam Alert: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency.