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NEED TO KNOW: New twist on old tax scam

Posted at 8:11 AM, Feb 19, 2018

There's a new twist to the old scam of thieves filing a tax return in your name then pocketing your refund. And even veteran tax experts can't believe how brazen the thieves have become.

If a big, fat refund check from the IRS unexpectedly shows up in your mailbox or gets deposited into your bank account, do not try to cash it.

"Now, that's not your money and if you don't actually return it to the IRS, you could get in trouble," says Kelly Phillips Erb, a writer for Forbes.

She says you're likely a victim of the latest tax scam, where thieves file a bogus return using your identity, have the refund sent to you or your account, then call to try to con you out of it.

"They either pose as IRS or as a debt collector associated with the IRS, they will tell you that there is a refund that you're not entitled to that is in your account or in your mailbox. And they give you instructions to return it but it gets returned not to the IRS but to the thieves," says Erb.

She says the IRS just detected the scam on February 1st, after a few hundred complaints from taxpayers.

"And now, apparently, it's in the tens of thousands of tax payers that have been affected by this scam. So, it's growing really rapidly."

A reminder, the IRS will never call you by found.

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