New year, new tax season, and new money scam. If you get an unexpected refund check from the IRS in your mailbox, or it gets deposited into your bank account, you could be the latest victim of the latest tax scam.

In fact, tax lawyer Kelly Phillips Erb, warns, “that’s not your money and if you don’t actually return it to the IRS, you could get in trouble.”

According to East Texas Matters, 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.

Erb says 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 are not entitled to that is in your account or in your mailbox and they give you instructions to return it but it gets returned to the thieves instead of the IRS.

According to Erb, the IRS just detected the scam around February 1st, after a few hundred complaints from taxpayers.

The IRS government website says the same thing:

These criminals have a new twist on an old scam. After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers' real bank accounts for the deposit.

Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers, and their versions of the scam may continue to evolve.

If you did not know, it is important to note that the IRS will never contact you by phone. A little bit of info that could save you a lot of headaches in the future.

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