A new refund scam has emerged that threatens to ensnare thousands of unwary taxpayers who use direct deposit.

According to the IRS, the scheme works like this: Cyber crooks steal personal data and file fraudulent tax returns for large refunds using real taxpayer information, including bank accounts and routing numbers for direct deposit. The scammer then contacts the taxpayer posing as an employee of a debt collection agency working on behalf of the IRS. The con artist asks the taxpayer to take certain steps to return the refund, but actually, the refund goes to the criminals.

So if you receive a suspicious refund, such as one bigger than expected, or get an email or phone call asking you to repay a refund, call the bank where the direct-deposit refund was received and then call the IRS, 800.829.1040.

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