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SALT LAKE CITY — Thieves who run scams don't lay off unsuspecting taxpayers after April 15. It's a year-round crime, and a new one is making the rounds.
The latest incarnation is a supposed IRS form telling taxpayers a new law has qualified them for a refund.
“Just fill out the form, send it to them, it takes 14 weeks and they you get a tax refund,” said Jane Driggs, president of the Better Business Bureau of Utah.
The tax refund check could be for $450 or $4,500. They are both worth exactly the same: absolutely nothing.
“They’ll get the check and it will be a false check. They’ll deposit it and they’ll be asked to wire money,” Driggs explained.
It looks like the check clears but then two weeks later the bank informs the victim it was forged. The victim is out the amount they wired.
“If someone falls for this, they could lose thousands or tens of thousands of dollars,” Driggs said.
She said the bureau fields calls nearly every day on this scam. While at first glance the form might look legitimate, there are definitely hallmarks of fraud, such as pixilated letterhead.
“Their header was a little blurry. Their header was cut and pasted,” Driggs said.
Also, look at the information the form wants: bank account, debit card, driver's license and passport numbers. These are things the IRS doesn't ask for.
There also is a plus-1 phone number to contact the agency: “I’m guessing someone overseas made this,” Driggs said.
She pointed out that there is one dead giveaway to the scam: “The IRS does not tell you you’re getting a tax refund via email,” she said.