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By Erin Smith

The Internal Revenue Service is wanting tax payers to be aware of a new scam involving fraudulent tax refunds. This scam involves the scammer actually filing fraudulent income tax returns and using the victim’s real bank account to deposit the refunds. The scammer then devises a scheme to regain the refund from the victim.

According to the IRS, the scammers have breached computer data files for numerous tax preparers and have downloaded information on hundreds of tax payers. Once they have the taxpayer’s information, the scammer will then file fraudulent income tax returns for hundreds of dollars in income tax refunds. The scammer will have the fraudulent income tax refunds direct deposited to the victim’s bank account whereby they will then proceed to try to regain the refunds from the victim.

The IRS warns the scammers will use various means to contact the victim and try to reclaim the fraudulent refund. In some cases, victims have reported receiving a telephone call, in other instances the victim has been contacted by the scammer via social media or email. The scammer will pose as an IRS agent or another government official telling the victim to call a telephone number to return the fraudulent funds. In reality, the victim is calling the scammer.

In some instances, victims do not learn they are victim of the IRS scam until they try to file their legitimate income tax return and it is rejected because another return has already been filed, according to the IRS.

The IRS urges tax payers to be vigilant and if they receive tax refund deposits or paper refund checks unexpectedly to contact their tax preparers immediately. They can also return their erroneous refunds by contacting the IRS by calling 1-800-829-1040 and they will give you instructions to return the refund check.