IRS: Scammers file fake returns, steal your refund

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In another version, after you get that erroneous refund, you get an automated call, allegedly from the IRS, threatening you with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant, and "blacklisting" of your Social Security number.

They're at it again... tax scammers scheming new ways to steal personal information and money.

Scammers are stealing client information from tax preparers and filing phony returns, according to an IRS press release. Early in the year, when many taxpayers are preparing to file their returns.

Has refunds deposited into taxpayers' bank accounts.

That's just part of what the IRS says is $1.1 billion nationally unclaimed by taxpayers who never filed a 2014 tax return yet were entitled to a refund.

Hacks tax preparers' computers to steal taxpayer data.

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If you cannot reach a family member or are unsure of what to do in the instance of a potentially fraudulent phone call, you can call the Bureau of Consumer Protection at 800-422-7128 or your local police nonemergency line. That means April 17, 2018, is the last day for people who didn't file their returns in 2014.

One new scam the department warned about on Monday involves cyber criminals filing falsified tax returns and obtaining fraudulent tax refunds from taxpayers by posing as Internal Revenue Service officials and debt collectors. Any of these scenarios is a strong indication that you may be the victim of tax identity theft.

Not only will the government not penalize you if you are owed money, but also you're going to get interest on that money. Don't reply to or click on any links in any kinds of messages like this; instead, forward the message to the IRS at phishing@irs.gov so they can investigate it further. And you should have your bank return the payment to the IRS and immediately take steps to secure your bank account. "Time is running out for people who haven't filed tax returns to claim their refunds".

Also put a fraud alert on your credit reports so that businesses must contact you to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name.

There are some circumstances in which your refund may take longer. "That's really what a lot of the tax ID thieves do they file a tax return very quickly, claim a bogus refund under your name, and then when you go to file your legitimate tax return before the tax deadline, it gets rejected". In Texas, 108,000 people didn't file a tax return in 2014, leaving behind a whopping $122 million.

If you would like to prevent becoming a victim of identity theft, check out our credit monitoring service.

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