DATCP Officials Watching for Tax ID Theft Scam

The deadline to file your taxes is still a few weeks away – and as those of us that haven’t filed our returns work toward getting the proper forms submitted, consumer protection officials are bracing for the return of a tax scam they saw pop up at the end of last year. Michelle Reinen, Director of the Bureau of Consumer Protection with the Wisconsin Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection says it’s a complicated scam – that starts with someone filing a false tax return in your name. Those scammers then let the refund get deposited into your bank account, but they then call you and pose as the IRS saying you mistakenly received that money and need to send it back. “They make contact with you by phone and they act as though they are the IRS, saying you should not have received the refund that you did, and you’ll see the amount sitting in your bank account, because it really did happen with the ID theft filing,” Reinen said.

Reinen adds that the scammers are calling to help you return that money – but to them posing as the IRS, not the real IRS. “So what’s happening is, you are paying the scam artists that money back, but you really will owe the IRS this money because it really came from them from that false filing,” she said. Reinen says if this happens to you to work with your bank to get the money back to the IRS – and to call the IRS using your own information, not the number the scammers provide. She also reminds people that the IRS does not make phone calls – the process will be initiated by a letter.