Fraud Alert: Erroneous IRS Refund Scam

(KOMO file photo)

It's your lucky day! You just noticed a big deposit in your checking or savings account. It’s a tax refund from the IRS, one that you weren't expecting.

Watch out: It could be part of a new scam making the rounds.

Crooks are now filing fraudulent returns and having the bogus refund money deposited into a legitimate taxpayer's bank account – maybe yours.

"And then after the money is in your account, the scammer will call and demand the money back,” said John Breyault, a vice president with the National Consumers League which runs the website "The scammer will impersonate the IRS and they'll ask for that money to be wired or put onto a prepaid debit card or some other way to send the money."

Some of these scammers can be quite aggressive. They'll threaten a fine or jail time.

Hang up! The IRS would never call you like this and they don't accept transactions via money transfer or gift cards.

So, what do you do if you get an unexpected refund check or deposit?

"Don't spend that money,” Breyault said. “Contact the IRS. Let them know what's going on and they can help you work out that scam."

More Info: Avoid last-minute tax scams

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