**NOTE: The IRS will never contact you by phone or email. Never give someone claiming to be the IRS by these means personal information. The IRS will always send an official USPS mail letter to correspond with you.
Have you received an email or automated phone call from the IRS? The IRS is warning of a new scam hackers are using to acquire your personal information and money.
It begins with hackers infiltrating your employer’s or tax preparer’s databases and stealing your personal and financial information. Some of the current scams include using that information to then file a false tax return in your name and request a refund or direct deposit into their own bank account or sometimes even to your actual bank account.
If their scam involves you receiving funds into your bank account or if you receive a refund in your name in the mail, the hacker will pose as the IRS or a collection agency, contact you by phone or email, claim the money you received was mistakenly sent to you, and demand the money be returned by electronic wire. They will often threaten you with a lawsuit if you do not comply.
Other times, they just get your personal and bank information and fraudulently wire money from your account, never to be seen again.
The IRS is warning people not to fall for this scam.
• The IRS will almost never contact you by phone or email. If they do, tell them to send you an official notice or request via USPS.
• Never give someone claiming to be the IRS by these means personal information.
• The IRS will always send, or always agree to send an official USPS mail letter to correspond with you.
Here’s what to do if you receive a refund from the IRS for which you did not file:
- If you receive a refund by direct deposit for which you did not file, go to your bank and have them return the funds to the IRS and then contact the agency via phone.
- If you receive a refund by mail for which you did not file, write “VOID” across the check and mail it with a written explanation to your nearest IRS office.
- If you received a refund by mail for which you did not file and have already cashed it, reimburse the IRS by sending a personal check with a written explanation to your nearest IRS office.
If you receive a refund for which you did not file and do not return it to the IRS, you will likely be forced to pay interest on what you owe and may be subject to other penalties.
How to contact the IRS to report suspected scams or phishing activity:
- If you receive an email from someone claiming to be the IRS, forward the email as-is to the IRS to email@example.com. Don’t forward scanned images because this removes valuable information. Delete the original email.
- If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be the IRS, record the employee’s name, badge number, call-back number, and caller ID (if available). Call 1-800-366-4484 to determine if the caller is an IRS employee with a legitimate need to contact you. If the person calling you is an IRS employee, call them back. If not, report the incident to TIGTA and to the IRS at firstname.lastname@example.org (with the subject: ‘IRS Phone Scam’)
- To report other forms of suspicious correspondence from someone claiming to be the IRS, visit the IRS website here: https://www.irs.gov/privacy-disclosure/report-phishing
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