A reader: I am a consumer who filed my taxes on time. I was supposed to get a $2,000 return. I kept waiting and waiting. I did not receive my return. So I called the IRS. They told me that my refund was sent to a bank account that was not mine. What can I do?
Action Line: This seems to be a huge problem. You have become a victim of ID theft. The first thing you need to do is to file a police report. You can ask IRS to stop payment on the refund if it has not already been posted to the IRS account. Contact the respective financial institution to see if they can help you recover your funds.
IRS advises to check the status of your tax return within 24 hours after the IRS has received your efile or 4 weeks after you paper file. You will need your Social Security number or individual taxpayer identification number, your filing status and the exact amount of your refund to check your status. You can do this online, or by calling the local IRS office at (559) 444-2044 in Fresno, or (559) 265-4109 in Visalia.
Here are some other helpful tips to let you know what IRS will never do:
• Never asks for credit card, debit card or prepaid card information over the telephone.
• Never insists that taxpayers use a specific payment method to pay tax obligations.
• Never requests immediate payment over the telephone and will not take enforcement action immediately following a phone conversation. Taxpayers usually receive prior notification of IRS enforcement action involving IRS tax liens or levies.
BBB suggests that you should never give any money or credit card information over the phone to someone who you do not know. If you give out credit card info, you are authorizing that person to add charges to your account. If they ask you to get a preloaded card, and you give them that info they can take all of the money loaded on the card.
Many scammers use scare tactics like the threat of an arrest to get you to give up the info. Don’t do it. If you think you might have some back taxes that need to be paid, call the IRS yourself at (800) 829-1040. Verify it. The scammer might be able to use a real IRS number on the caller ID but if you call IRS yourself, you can be sure you are talking to an actual IRS agent.
If you have received one of these calls or become a victim, you can call TIGTA at (800) 366-4484 to report. You may also want to file a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov. If you think you have been a victim of an IRS scam please contact us at 1 (800) 675-8118.