Cybercriminals are now stealing client data from tax accountants and preparers to file tax returns in the name of identity theft victims.  

After filing your tax return, the scammer will put the tax refund into the taxpayer’s real bank account through direct deposit.  Jason Williams, the Office Manager at Liberty Tax Services told us how common this scam is.  Early in the year, when many taxpayers are preparing to file their returns. 

Jason Williams, Manager of Liberty Tax Services, says, “I guess nothing nowadays can really surprise you… these people come up with different types of angles.  Again, the IRS usually sends a letter. I’m sure eventually people will pick up on this and start sending letters that look like they’re from the IRS.”

The scammers will call you acting like they’re from the IRS, leaving a message with a case number saying you have to call them back and return your tax refund.”

Dan Hassell, Revenue Secretary, talked about how the IRS recently issued a warning about this new scam.  “If you have any doubts about who’s contacting you then don’t be bullied into taking immediate action.  You can hang up the phone and contact the IRS directly and ask if you owe them money.”

Some ways to avoid identity theft include not trusting numbers on Caller ID even if it says, ‘IRS,’ scammers use a technique known as ‘spoofing’ to trick Caller ID.  Also, use strong and unique passwords for each online account. 

If you suspect fraudulent activity on your account, call your bank immediately.