The IRS is urging residents of Washington to beware of a new tax refund scam. You may have received a piece of mail that sports the official IRS logo or some semblance thereof. It usually comes in a cardboard envelope via a delivery service. Inside is a letter that informs you about a tax refund that you haven’t yet claimed.
The scam is run by identity thieves
Tax law prohibits the claiming of refunds that are not authorized by the IRS. There are also laws and penalties in store for individuals and organizations that attempt to defraud the public by posing as the IRS. The present letter, and others like it, are the work of information thieves.
If you receive this letter, you will notice that it comes with fake contact information. This includes a bogus phone number. The letter also contains requests for personal information. This can include asking for close-up photos of documents such as your driver’s license, Social Security card and others.
Thieves can use this information to steal the refund that you are legitimately issued by the IRS. They can also mine your other financial details in order to steal from your bank and credit card accounts. People who receive this letter are urged to turn it over immediately to the IRS. This is the best way to avoid becoming the victim of fraud.
How can you spot a fraudulent letter?
Tax scams of this type are rampant throughout the U.S. Luckily, there are a number of discrepancies that are easy to identify.
The envelope will usually feature the IRS logo. However, it won’t contain other identifying marks, such as the CP notice, in the upper right-hand corner. The body of the letter may contain a number of grammatical errors or unusual requests.
For example, the letter may warn you about impending tax deadlines. It may also request your private information. The biggest giveaway is the claim it makes about you being qualified for a refund that you knew nothing about.