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Fraudulent Tax Refunds

The IRS has a warning about a quickly growing scam: fake refunds being directly deposited into taxpayers’ bank accounts.

It seems this time of year, the only thing more certain than taxes are the tax scams. The Internal Revenue Service recently came out with a warning about a quickly growing scam, fake refunds being directly deposited into taxpayers’ bank accounts.

The IRS says hackers stole client data from tax professionals and began filing fraudulent tax returns, using the taxpayers' real bank accounts for the deposit. Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers.

Miguel Segura with the Better Business Bureau says there are different versions of this scam. In one, criminals posing as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS contacted the taxpayers to say a refund was deposited in error, and they asked the taxpayers to forward the money to their collection agency. In another version, the taxpayer who received the erroneous refund gets an automated call with a recorded voice saying he is from the IRS and threatens the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges. The recorded voice gives the taxpayer a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund.

Whether you received a fraudulent direct deposit or a check, immediately go to IRS.gov. It has specific steps you can take. It also has steps you can take if you deposited the fake check.

For tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of any kind of tax scam, watch the clip above.

Remember, if you are a victim of this scam, report it to the IRS and at BBB.org/scamtracker.

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