IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

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Stinky
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IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by Stinky » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:29 am

This morning, we got a direct deposit of $53.00 into our bank account. The explanation is "Credit for IRS Treas 310 Tax Ref".

We haven't filed our 2018 taxes yet, and we have had no issues with the IRS since we filed our 2017 taxes. We owed the IRS in 2017, so no refund was due. We prepare our taxes ourselves manually, and don't use a paid preparer or tax software.

I googled "IRS 310 Refund", and saw some reference to scams in early 2018 involving tax refunds.

Any advice from the Boglehead community about what's going on? I'm inclined to just wait for a week or two and see what happens before I reach out to bank and/or IRS, but wanted to hear other thoughts.
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by livesoft » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:34 am

I have no idea, but I can speculate:

1. Someone filed a fraudulent return and took $1,000 of the refund into their Amazon gift card and $53 into your account.

2. Someone put the wrong bank account info on their return.

3. The IRS made a mistake.

4. The bank made a mistake.

5. You made a mistake on your 2017 return and the IRS is finally giving you back your money.
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by katrid11 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:43 am

If it were me, I would reach out to the IRS immediately. Yes it is a deposit but someone has your bank account information to get it there. That would bother me.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by nisiprius » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:57 am

That is scary. If you can't get the IRS quickly, I would call your bank and at least get an answer to this question: exactly how is a legitimate refund listed on a bank statement? That is, is the line "Credit for IRS Treas 310 Tax Ref" what you would expect?
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by livesoft » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:01 am

nisiprius wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:57 am
That is scary. If you can't get the IRS quickly, I would call your bank and at least get an answer to this question: exactly how is a legitimate refund listed on a bank statement? That is, is the line "Credit for IRS Treas 310 Tax Ref" what you would expect?
In my checking account, a 10/24/18 direct deposit is listed as
IRS TREAS 310 TAX REF 102418 XXXX.... Names of taxpayers on tax return.
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by nisiprius » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:15 am

livesoft wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:01 am
nisiprius wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:57 am
That is scary. If you can't get the IRS quickly, I would call your bank and at least get an answer to this question: exactly how is a legitimate refund listed on a bank statement? That is, is the line "Credit for IRS Treas 310 Tax Ref" what you would expect?
In my checking account, a 10/24/18 direct deposit is listed as
IRS TREAS 310 TAX REF 102418 XXXX.... Names of taxpayers on tax return.
Found one of mine. The exact, full description as it appears online is:
IRS TREAS 310 TAX REF
Anybody have one including the two words "Credit for?" In my bank's online display, the word "credit" does not appear. The only indication that it is a credit is the sign of the amount; that is, checks and withdrawals are shown as negative amounts with a minus sign, while deposits and interest are shown as positive amounts, with no sign.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen and six, result happiness; Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by Stinky » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:20 am

nisiprius wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:15 am
livesoft wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:01 am
nisiprius wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:57 am
That is scary. If you can't get the IRS quickly, I would call your bank and at least get an answer to this question: exactly how is a legitimate refund listed on a bank statement? That is, is the line "Credit for IRS Treas 310 Tax Ref" what you would expect?
In my checking account, a 10/24/18 direct deposit is listed as
IRS TREAS 310 TAX REF 102418 XXXX.... Names of taxpayers on tax return.
Found one of mine. The exact, full description as it appears online is:
IRS TREAS 310 TAX REF
Anybody have one including the two words "Credit for?" In my bank's online display, the word "credit" does not appear. The only indication that it is a credit is the sign of the amount; that is, checks and withdrawals are shown as negative amounts with a minus sign, while deposits and interest are shown as positive amounts, with no sign.
Just to be clear, the entire text on the bank statement says -
"Credit for Irs Treas 310 Tax Ref
Co Ref - (then a 15 digit number that I don't recognize - isn't our SSNs, bank account number, or any other number that I recognize)"

That's the full description.
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by MikeG62 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:29 am

Contact the IRS right away.

One option would be to check online as to the status of your 2018 return (assuming you can clear the security questions). If there is anything in the IRS system which indicates a 2018 was filed you need to get on the phone with the IRS immediately.
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10.06am
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by 10.06am » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:37 am

I would call the IRS right away.

My 2018 refund was deposited on 2/8/19. The description shows:

ACH Deposit: IRS TREAS 310 TYPE: TAX REF ID: XXXXXXXXXX CO: IRS TREAS 310 ACH Trace Number: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The first number is 10 digits and the second number is 15.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by HueyLD » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:37 am

Stinky wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:29 am
This morning, we got a direct deposit of $53.00 into our bank account. The explanation is "Credit for IRS Treas 310 Tax Ref".

We haven't filed our 2018 taxes yet, and we have had no issues with the IRS since we filed our 2017 taxes. We owed the IRS in 2017, so no refund was due. We prepare our taxes ourselves manually, and don't use a paid preparer or tax software.

I googled "IRS 310 Refund", and saw some reference to scams in early 2018 involving tax refunds.

Any advice from the Boglehead community about what's going on? I'm inclined to just wait for a week or two and see what happens before I reach out to bank and/or IRS, but wanted to hear other thoughts.
Two possibilities.

(1). Someone had mistyped his direct deposit information and used yours by mistake.

(2). Your 2018 tax return was filed by a fraudster and you need to address this with both the IRS and the bank right away. You may want to start with the bank and see what they can do to help. And it may be next to impossible to call the IRS and you may have to visit their local office in person.

Good luck.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by IMO » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:55 am

Have you done a rough draft of your current tax return? I would be especially concerned if I was anticipating a larger return than the $53.

Here's a turbo tax link on the topic:
https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/se ... /L3fFN1Gyk


Regardless, I would be concerned, and make sure I had a credit freeze in place right away.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by cas » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:07 pm

I assume OP saw this "Scam Alert" from the IRS (from almost exactly a year ago today), since it pops right up when I google "IRS 310 refund", but for other readers who might be wondering how this particular scam works...
The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers of a quickly growing scam involving erroneous tax refunds being deposited into their bank accounts. The IRS also offered a step-by-step explanation for how to return the funds and avoid being scammed.

[ . . .]

These criminals have a new twist on an old scam. After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers' real bank accounts for the deposit.

Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers, and their versions of the scam may continue to evolve.

In one version of the scam, criminals posing as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS contacted the taxpayers to say a refund was deposited in error, and they asked the taxpayers to forward the money to their collection agency.

In another version, the taxpayer who received the erroneous refund gets an automated call with a recorded voice saying he is from the IRS and threatens the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant and a “blacklisting” of their Social Security Number. The recorded voice gives the taxpayer a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund.
Source: Scam Alert: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency; February 13, 2018; https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/scam-alert ... ion-agency

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by Stinky » Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:48 pm

cas wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:07 pm
I assume OP saw this "Scam Alert" from the IRS (from almost exactly a year ago today), since it pops right up when I google "IRS 310 refund", but for other readers who might be wondering how this particular scam works...
The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers of a quickly growing scam involving erroneous tax refunds being deposited into their bank accounts. The IRS also offered a step-by-step explanation for how to return the funds and avoid being scammed.

[ . . .]

These criminals have a new twist on an old scam. After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers' real bank accounts for the deposit.

Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers, and their versions of the scam may continue to evolve.

In one version of the scam, criminals posing as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS contacted the taxpayers to say a refund was deposited in error, and they asked the taxpayers to forward the money to their collection agency.

In another version, the taxpayer who received the erroneous refund gets an automated call with a recorded voice saying he is from the IRS and threatens the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant and a “blacklisting” of their Social Security Number. The recorded voice gives the taxpayer a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund.
Source: Scam Alert: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency; February 13, 2018; https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/scam-alert ... ion-agency
Yes, I’ve seen the post - thank you.

Since my original post this morning, I’ve logged into the IRS website. It doesn’t show that a return has been filed for 2018, or that a refund has been issued under our SSNs. The IRS does show my estimated tax payments during 2018, so it “recognizes” me.

I’ll keep checking all accounts of mine, including IRS, to see if there’s any more activity. But for now I think the most likely explanation is that somebody else miscoded their bank account when they filed their taxes, and I’m the (temporary) beneficiary of their mistake.

I’ll reach out to bank/IRS in a week or so if I haven’t heard anything else. And I’ll watch all accounts like a hawk.
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by HueyLD » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:04 pm

If you need to call the IRS, be aware of their new identification requirements.

“Avoid the rush: Be prepared to validate identity if contacting the IRS

The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers and tax professionals that they will be asked to verify their identities if they call the IRS.

The days before and after Presidents Day mark the peak period for taxpayer phone calls to the IRS. To avoid the rush, callers should use IRS.gov to access resources like the IRS Service Guide, to answer their questions or be prepared to verify their identities if they need to call the agency.

Being prepared before a call or visit can save taxpayers multiple calls.

Confirming taxpayers’ identities during calls

IRS call center professionals take great care to make certain that they only discuss personal information with the taxpayer or someone the taxpayer authorizes to speak on their behalf. To ensure that taxpayers do not have to call back, the IRS reminds taxpayers to have the following information ready:

Social Security numbers (SSN) and birth dates for those who were named on the tax return

An Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) letter if the taxpayer has one in lieu of a SSN

Filing status – single, head of household, married filing joint or married filing separate

The prior-year tax return. Telephone assistors may need to verify taxpayer identity with information from the return before answering certain questions

A copy of the tax return in question

Any IRS letters or notices received by the taxpayer”

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by grandmacassie » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:07 pm

Is is possible that the word REF with a long number following stands for REFERENCE # not a REFUND #? Perhaps we are all misreading REF, and the # following could shed some light if followed up - that you overpaid last year by $53. Just a thought.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:25 pm

Darn, you are $53 ahead of me, but I have heard that my SS# will be blacklisted and the local cops will be called.

Hope you find out what's going on and let us know.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by lazydavid » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:02 pm

NotWhoYouThink wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:25 pm
Darn, you are $53 ahead of me, but I have heard that my SS# will be blacklisted and the local cops will be called.
Me too! :P

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by delamer » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:18 pm

Have you ever given the IRS your bank account number in a previous tax year?

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by WillRetire » Thu Feb 14, 2019 2:28 pm

More likely it is a refund from a prior tax year (2017 or earlier) due to a miscalculation or other adjustment detected by the IRS. It is a bit too early for the IRS to be sending you a refund for a 2018 return, but that is a possibility if someone filed fraudulently in your name. However, my guess is the first scenario: a repayment for a prior year.

Believe it or not, the IRS will send you a check if it catches a mistake in your favor. They sent us a check some years ago. It took a while for us to figure it out without calling them. The mistake was made by our preparer at the time: They did not subtract tax paid with the extension when filing the late return. The IRS sent us a check, with a little bit of added interest, if I recall correctly.

You can also register (=create an account) on irs.gov. There might be more details there.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by Stinky » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:01 pm

Well, my son has a co-worker who previously worked for
IRS. He recommended that I call IRS sooner instead of later.

So I gave IRS a call just now. Wait time was shorter than I feared - about 10 minutes. I gave her my personal information, and she confirmed (a) no return has been filed for me for 2018, and (b) no recent refund has been issued to me for tax years 2010-2017. So she was befuddled as to how the money got in my account. Her only thoughts were to call my bank.

So, for the moment, I’m $53 ahead, with no evidence of fraud or identity theft at the IRS.

I’ll repost to this thread when there are further developments.
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by MikeG62 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:04 pm

Stinky wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:01 pm
Well, my son has a co-worker who previously worked for
IRS. He recommended that I call IRS sooner instead of later.

So I gave IRS a call just now. Wait time was shorter than I feared - about 10 minutes. I gave her my personal information, and she confirmed (a) no return has been filed for me for 2018, and (b) no recent refund has been issued to me for tax years 2010-2017. So she was befuddled as to how the money got in my account. Her only thoughts were to call my bank.

So, for the moment, I’m $53 ahead, with no evidence of fraud or identity theft at the IRS.

I’ll repost to this thread when there are further developments.
That is great to hear Stinky.

I'm leaning toward someone typing in the wrong account number on their 2018 return. My Dad filed two weeks ago and got his refund within 7 days. So refunds are going out already contrary to what another poster indicated above about it being too early.
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by nisiprius » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:15 pm

How does a fraudster manage to get an ACH deposit tagged "Credit for IRS Treas 310 Tax Ref?" Can you just arrange for ACH deposits to say anything you like? Could you arrange for a deposit to say "Tooth Fairy Cred Lowr Incisrs?"
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by 8foot7 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:26 pm

If the IRS says no return was filed, then the obvious answer here is that somebody mistyped their account number and it happened to match yours. Out of 300 million people in the US I suspect it probably happens once or twice.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by Leesbro63 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:44 pm

I’ve noticed, over the years, that IRS refunds come a few days before the written explanation. Maybe wait a few days and see if anything comes in the mail explaining this. My own guess is that this was from some error, in your favor, for 2017.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by cas » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:56 pm

8foot7 wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:26 pm
If the IRS says no return was filed, then the obvious answer here is that somebody mistyped their account number and it happened to match yours. Out of 300 million people in the US I suspect it probably happens once or twice.
The fact that a truly erroneous deposit to an incorrect account could plausibly occur may also make this tactic effective as a scam.

Perhaps - as a twist on the 2018 version of the scam, instead of the refund from your own fraudulently filed tax return being deposited to your own bank account, the refund from someone else's fraudulently filed tax return is deposited to your bank account, followed by some sort of sympathy-arousing-but-fraudulent communication about how to give the money back.

Does the IRS check whether the name on the designated bank account matches a name of a taxpayer on a return? I have no idea. (But if they did, it would seem it would prevent both truly erroneous and fraudulent deposits of this type, unless it is a computer somewhere in the ACH process that misdirected the funds.)

I guess the key will be whether anyone contacts Stinky about this deposit in the coming days.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by HueyLD » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:01 pm

Many years ago, an associate of mine transposed two digits of an account number and the refund went into someone else's account. It took a while to sort the mess out. But it really could happen because to err is human.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by jacksonm » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:23 pm

cas wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:07 pm
I assume OP saw this "Scam Alert" from the IRS (from almost exactly a year ago today), since it pops right up when I google "IRS 310 refund", but for other readers who might be wondering how this particular scam works...
The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers of a quickly growing scam involving erroneous tax refunds being deposited into their bank accounts. The IRS also offered a step-by-step explanation for how to return the funds and avoid being scammed.

[ . . .]

These criminals have a new twist on an old scam. After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers' real bank accounts for the deposit.

Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers, and their versions of the scam may continue to evolve.

In one version of the scam, criminals posing as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS contacted the taxpayers to say a refund was deposited in error, and they asked the taxpayers to forward the money to their collection agency.

In another version, the taxpayer who received the erroneous refund gets an automated call with a recorded voice saying he is from the IRS and threatens the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant and a “blacklisting” of their Social Security Number. The recorded voice gives the taxpayer a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund.
Source: Scam Alert: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency; February 13, 2018; https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/scam-alert ... ion-agency
That's an interesting scam but it seems like a whole lot of work just to scam somebody out of $53.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by Stinky » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:36 pm

jacksonm wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:23 pm
cas wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 12:07 pm
I assume OP saw this "Scam Alert" from the IRS (from almost exactly a year ago today), since it pops right up when I google "IRS 310 refund", but for other readers who might be wondering how this particular scam works...
The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers of a quickly growing scam involving erroneous tax refunds being deposited into their bank accounts. The IRS also offered a step-by-step explanation for how to return the funds and avoid being scammed.

[ . . .]

These criminals have a new twist on an old scam. After stealing client data from tax professionals and filing fraudulent tax returns, these criminals use the taxpayers' real bank accounts for the deposit.

Thieves are then using various tactics to reclaim the refund from the taxpayers, and their versions of the scam may continue to evolve.

In one version of the scam, criminals posing as debt collection agency officials acting on behalf of the IRS contacted the taxpayers to say a refund was deposited in error, and they asked the taxpayers to forward the money to their collection agency.

In another version, the taxpayer who received the erroneous refund gets an automated call with a recorded voice saying he is from the IRS and threatens the taxpayer with criminal fraud charges, an arrest warrant and a “blacklisting” of their Social Security Number. The recorded voice gives the taxpayer a case number and a telephone number to call to return the refund.
Source: Scam Alert: IRS Urges Taxpayers to Watch Out for Erroneous Refunds; Beware of Fake Calls to Return Money to a Collection Agency; February 13, 2018; https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/scam-alert ... ion-agency
That's an interesting scam but it seems like a whole lot of work just to scam somebody out of $53.
If this is what's happening in my case, I'm thinking that I'll get an email "from the IRS", telling me that I got a refund in error and to provide my bank account to them so they can correct the error. Or to click on a link embedded in the email to start the refund process.

In either case, I expect that they would clean out my bank account. And I have a little more than $53 in my account. :happy

If such an email comes "from the IRS", it will go straight in the trash.
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by DaftInvestor » Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:49 pm

I'd start by reaching out to the bank instead of the IRS. See if they have more detail about the transaction (e.g. was it submitted with a name that you can't see in the online transaction).
My guess is someone gave the wrong account number when they filed their taxes.
I just go my refund: "External Deposit IRS TREAS 310 - TAX REF" is all I see but wonder if I called the bank their would be more.

I once saw a deposit of somewhere on the order of $200,000 show up in my account. I could have moved it to somewhere else but figured it was an error and being honest and all I called the bank. They said they would look into it. Later that day the transaction completely disappeared - the bank said it was an error - someone sold their house and ACH'd the money to the wrong account number.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by nisiprius » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:14 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:01 pm
Many years ago, an associate of mine transposed two digits of an account number and the refund went into someone else's account. It took a while to sort the mess out. But it really could happen because to err is human.
????? Do banks issue account numbers without any check digit system?

We've known how to avoid this since... since the sixties, if not long before. [Added: 1954]. If you transpose two digits of a credit card number, you don't get somebody else's credit card number, you get an impossible credit card number. This is detected by a simple calculation involving the last digit of the number, which is a check digit. Only a tenth of all 16-digit numbers are valid credit card numbers, and transposing a pair of digits on a valid number converts it to an invalid number. The details are here.
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by delamer » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:18 pm

HueyLD wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:01 pm
Many years ago, an associate of mine transposed two digits of an account number and the refund went into someone else's account. It took a while to sort the mess out. But it really could happen because to err is human.
I think I may be shockingly naive. :shock:

I thought there was some electronic check of the name on the account in these situations, so that both the account number and name would have to match.

I suppose if you have a common last name, something could go awry anyway.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by Watty » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:27 pm

Stinky wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:01 pm
Well, my son has a co-worker who previously worked for
IRS. He recommended that I call IRS sooner instead of later.

So I gave IRS a call just now. Wait time was shorter than I feared - about 10 minutes. I gave her my personal information, and she confirmed (a) no return has been filed for me for 2018, and (b) no recent refund has been issued to me for tax years 2010-2017. So she was befuddled as to how the money got in my account. Her only thoughts were to call my bank.

So, for the moment, I’m $53 ahead, with no evidence of fraud or identity theft at the IRS.

I’ll repost to this thread when there are further developments.
I would still assume that the account is compromised and get a new account number.

MarkNYC
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by MarkNYC » Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:29 pm

delamer wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 5:18 pm
HueyLD wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:01 pm
Many years ago, an associate of mine transposed two digits of an account number and the refund went into someone else's account. It took a while to sort the mess out. But it really could happen because to err is human.
I think I may be shockingly naive. :shock:

I thought there was some electronic check of the name on the account in these situations, so that both the account number and name would have to match.

I suppose if you have a common last name, something could go awry anyway.
I once saw a situation similar to what Huey described. The bank (Chase) said they do not match the name on the tax return with the name on the bank account when issuing the direct deposit refund.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by RudyS » Thu Feb 14, 2019 9:23 pm

I volunteer for AARP TaxAide. They are paranoid about getting bank account numbers correct. The counselor checks, the quality reviewer checks, and then the client checks and initials the return copy! Explanation - there once was an instance of a deposit of a refund to an incorrect account, and it was not possible to retrieve it. AARP ate the cost. "Never again." So, the scenario of such an error is plausible.

But - "just because you are paranoid does not mean that they are not out to get you."

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by BrandonBogle » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:10 pm

Personally I wouldn't be so worried right away. I would wait until my bank statement comes in the mail (or the PDF is available online). Oftentimes the printed statement has more detailed descriptive info that the online activity listings. That also gives it time for the transaction to reverse. If anyone every reached out to me saying a deposit was in error and to forward the funds or what-have-you, my response would simply be to reverse the ACH. That can be done (I've done it).

Now, if the IRS withdraws funds from your account and you weren't expecting it, file a fraud concern with your bank immediately. Fed ACH has a restricted 24 hour reversal period for debits. After that, while it can still be reversed, it is more involved since the bank has to get permission to reverse it.

That all said, it was prudent to call and simply ask if this was a refund from a prior year return. Personally I would have still waited a week or two first for a mailed notice.

Until this gets resolved, don't move the $53 to another account. Just leave it there until it is reversed out.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by Stinky » Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:38 am

Stinky wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:01 pm
Well, my son has a co-worker who previously worked for IRS. He recommended that I call IRS sooner instead of later.

So I gave IRS a call just now. Wait time was shorter than I feared - about 10 minutes. I gave her my personal information, and she confirmed (a) no return has been filed for me for 2018, and (b) no recent refund has been issued to me for tax years 2010-2017. So she was befuddled as to how the money got in my account. Her only thoughts were to call my bank.

So, for the moment, I’m $53 ahead, with no evidence of fraud or identity theft at the IRS.

I’ll repost to this thread when there are further developments.
An update to my previous posts. To recap, one week ago we received a deposit of $53.00 to our checking account labeled "Credit for IRS Treas 310 Tax Ref". As stated above, I called the IRS that day, and they confirmed that they had not issued a refund to me under my tax ID. They could not provide any information to me about whether they had made a deposit to my checking account.

I've heard nothing from the IRS since then.

This morning, I called my bank and told them of the deposit from the "IRS". They will put me in touch with their Fraud Department, and offered to freeze my checking account (I declined because there has been no other strange activity and I monitor the account pretty much continuously). The bank's counsel was just to wait and see what happens.

So I'll continue to patiently wait. I think that it's likely that some taxpayer who has an account at my bank miscoded his/her account number when the 2018 tax return was filed, and is now waiting for their $53.00 refund to post.

I’ll repost to this thread when there are further developments.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt

Leesbro63
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by Leesbro63 » Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:42 am

Stinky wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:38 am
Stinky wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:01 pm
Well, my son has a co-worker who previously worked for IRS. He recommended that I call IRS sooner instead of later.

So I gave IRS a call just now. Wait time was shorter than I feared - about 10 minutes. I gave her my personal information, and she confirmed (a) no return has been filed for me for 2018, and (b) no recent refund has been issued to me for tax years 2010-2017. So she was befuddled as to how the money got in my account. Her only thoughts were to call my bank.

So, for the moment, I’m $53 ahead, with no evidence of fraud or identity theft at the IRS.

I’ll repost to this thread when there are further developments.
An update to my previous posts. To recap, one week ago we received a deposit of $53.00 to our checking account labeled "Credit for IRS Treas 310 Tax Ref". As stated above, I called the IRS that day, and they confirmed that they had not issued a refund to me under my tax ID. They could not provide any information to me about whether they had made a deposit to my checking account.

I've heard nothing from the IRS since then.

This morning, I called my bank and told them of the deposit from the "IRS". They will put me in touch with their Fraud Department, and offered to freeze my checking account (I declined because there has been no other strange activity and I monitor the account pretty much continuously). The bank's counsel was just to wait and see what happens.

So I'll continue to patiently wait. I think that it's likely that some taxpayer who has an account at my bank miscoded his/her account number when the 2018 tax return was filed, and is now waiting for their $53.00 refund to post.

I’ll repost to this thread when there are further developments.
And it's very possible that you'll never hear anything because a lot of people won't even tune in to a $53 issue. The taxpayer will just assume it posted and never reconcile his account (do people even do that any more?) to find out that it did not.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by BrandonBogle » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:31 am

Leesbro63 wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:42 am
And it's very possible that you'll never hear anything because a lot of people won't even tune in to a $53 issue. The taxpayer will just assume it posted and never reconcile his account (do people even do that any more?) to find out that it did not.
I'm in my mid-30s and maintain a paper register that I reconcile regularly. This is in addition to any recording in software and online banking.
:happy </nerdAlert>

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Stinky
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by Stinky » Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:47 am

BrandonBogle wrote:
Fri Feb 22, 2019 11:31 am
Leesbro63 wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:42 am
And it's very possible that you'll never hear anything because a lot of people won't even tune in to a $53 issue. The taxpayer will just assume it posted and never reconcile his account (do people even do that any more?) to find out that it did not.
I'm in my mid-30s and maintain a paper register that I reconcile regularly. This is in addition to any recording in software and online banking.
:happy </nerdAlert>
My adult children each keep a budget and reconcile their accounts regularly.

Then again, they are the children of a Boglehead.
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brucebuck1010
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by brucebuck1010 » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:10 pm

Waiting with bated breath!

The Wizard
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by The Wizard » Fri Feb 22, 2019 3:42 pm

Stinky wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 4:36 pm
...If such an email comes "from the IRS", it will go straight in the trash.
No.
Turn that email over to the authorities and let them play with the bad guy...
Attempted new signature...

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Stinky
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by Stinky » Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:52 am

Stinky wrote:
Thu Feb 21, 2019 10:38 am
Stinky wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:01 pm
Well, my son has a co-worker who previously worked for IRS. He recommended that I call IRS sooner instead of later.

So I gave IRS a call just now. Wait time was shorter than I feared - about 10 minutes. I gave her my personal information, and she confirmed (a) no return has been filed for me for 2018, and (b) no recent refund has been issued to me for tax years 2010-2017. So she was befuddled as to how the money got in my account. Her only thoughts were to call my bank.

So, for the moment, I’m $53 ahead, with no evidence of fraud or identity theft at the IRS.

I’ll repost to this thread when there are further developments.
An update to my previous posts. To recap, one week ago we received a deposit of $53.00 to our checking account labeled "Credit for IRS Treas 310 Tax Ref". As stated above, I called the IRS that day, and they confirmed that they had not issued a refund to me under my tax ID. They could not provide any information to me about whether they had made a deposit to my checking account.

I've heard nothing from the IRS since then.

This morning, I called my bank and told them of the deposit from the "IRS". They will put me in touch with their Fraud Department, and offered to freeze my checking account (I declined because there has been no other strange activity and I monitor the account pretty much continuously). The bank's counsel was just to wait and see what happens.

So I'll continue to patiently wait. I think that it's likely that some taxpayer who has an account at my bank miscoded his/her account number when the 2018 tax return was filed, and is now waiting for their $53.00 refund to post.

I’ll repost to this thread when there are further developments.
I heard from the bank's Fraud Department on Friday 2/22. The Fraud person confirmed that the deposit to my account appeared to be legitimately from the IRS, and asked me if I knew "Jane Doe" (name of the person for whom the tax refund was intended). I do not know that person, so it's likely that she somehow put my bank account number onto her tax form.

However, the Fraud team REALLY doesn't like "unauthorized activity" on an account, even if it is a deposit. They offered me two options - either (a) get a new account number, or (b) keep the current account number, which would be under "heightened scrutiny" for the next 30 days. That is, they would call me to verify every deposit and withdrawal to the account, which would increase processing time by a day or two for each transaction. After 30 days, the only way I could keep the current account number is to sign a waiver of ANY liability for fraud, no matter whether the bank or some third party defrauded me, for as long as the account is open.

I chose option (a). I would never sign a lifetime waiver.

I spent several hours on Saturday changing auto-pays for credit cards, etc. online, and have a few more calls to make on Monday to finish the process. On the bright side - the bank officer who opened my new account was sympathetic, and comped me the first box of checks. I was running low on checks and needed to reorder soon, so I guess I got some value out of this.

Thanks to all who offered their thoughts on this thread.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt

student
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by student » Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:41 am

Stinky wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:52 am
I heard from the bank's Fraud Department on Friday 2/22. The Fraud person confirmed that the deposit to my account appeared to be legitimately from the IRS, and asked me if I knew "Jane Doe" (name of the person for whom the tax refund was intended). I do not know that person, so it's likely that she somehow put my bank account number onto her tax form.

However, the Fraud team REALLY doesn't like "unauthorized activity" on an account, even if it is a deposit. They offered me two options - either (a) get a new account number, or (b) keep the current account number, which would be under "heightened scrutiny" for the next 30 days. That is, they would call me to verify every deposit and withdrawal to the account, which would increase processing time by a day or two for each transaction. After 30 days, the only way I could keep the current account number is to sign a waiver of ANY liability for fraud, no matter whether the bank or some third party defrauded me, for as long as the account is open.

I chose option (a). I would never sign a lifetime waiver.
Good update that it is not fraud. Who would sign a lifetime waiver like this?

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8foot7
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by 8foot7 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:54 am

No good deed goes unpunished. This is why I would have waited to contact anyone, especially a fraud department, because the simplest, most logical explanation for a one-time random small deposit was that someone mistyped their account number. I surely would not have called the bank’s Fraud department after the IRS confirmed there was no fraudulent activity on my account with them. Let me guess; they even took the $53 back?

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by Stinky » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:14 am

8foot7 wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:54 am
No good deed goes unpunished. This is why I would have waited to contact anyone, especially a fraud department, because the simplest, most logical explanation for a one-time random small deposit was that someone mistyped their account number. I surely would not have called the bank’s Fraud department after the IRS confirmed there was no fraudulent activity on my account with them. Let me guess; they even took the $53 back?
I agree that no good deed goes unpunished.

I'm annoyed with myself that I called the bank, after the IRS confirmed that there was nothing amiss with my tax account. But I didn't call the Fraud Department directly - my initial call to the bank prompted an internal referral to the Fraud Department.

And yes, they left the $53 in my old account, and I no longer have access to it. Leaving the money in the old account avoids another unpleasant possibility for me. If "Jane Doe" ever gets her act together and the IRS tries to take out the $53 from my old account, the bank would charge me an overdraft fee on the old account if there isn't $53 in the account.
It's a GREAT day to be alive - Travis Tritt

SimonJester
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by SimonJester » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:15 am

Stinky wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:52 am
I heard from the bank's Fraud Department on Friday 2/22. The Fraud person confirmed that the deposit to my account appeared to be legitimately from the IRS, and asked me if I knew "Jane Doe" (name of the person for whom the tax refund was intended). I do not know that person, so it's likely that she somehow put my bank account number onto her tax form.

However, the Fraud team REALLY doesn't like "unauthorized activity" on an account, even if it is a deposit. They offered me two options - either (a) get a new account number, or (b) keep the current account number, which would be under "heightened scrutiny" for the next 30 days. That is, they would call me to verify every deposit and withdrawal to the account, which would increase processing time by a day or two for each transaction. After 30 days, the only way I could keep the current account number is to sign a waiver of ANY liability for fraud, no matter whether the bank or some third party defrauded me, for as long as the account is open.

I chose option (a). I would never sign a lifetime waiver.

I spent several hours on Saturday changing auto-pays for credit cards, etc. online, and have a few more calls to make on Monday to finish the process. On the bright side - the bank officer who opened my new account was sympathetic, and comped me the first box of checks. I was running low on checks and needed to reorder soon, so I guess I got some value out of this.

Thanks to all who offered their thoughts on this thread.
Wow that seems a bit extreme given what probably happened. Is this a smaller bank / credit union? There is NO way anyone should sign that waiver...
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

student
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by student » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:17 am

Stinky wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:14 am
8foot7 wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:54 am
No good deed goes unpunished. This is why I would have waited to contact anyone, especially a fraud department, because the simplest, most logical explanation for a one-time random small deposit was that someone mistyped their account number. I surely would not have called the bank’s Fraud department after the IRS confirmed there was no fraudulent activity on my account with them. Let me guess; they even took the $53 back?
I agree that no good deed goes unpunished.

I'm annoyed with myself that I called the bank, after the IRS confirmed that there was nothing amiss with my tax account. But I didn't call the Fraud Department directly - my initial call to the bank prompted an internal referral to the Fraud Department.

And yes, they left the $53 in my old account, and I no longer have access to it. Leaving the money in the old account avoids another unpleasant possibility for me. If "Jane Doe" ever gets her act together and the IRS tries to take out the $53 from my old account, the bank would charge me an overdraft fee on the old account if there isn't $53 in the account.
Don't be too hard on yourself.

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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by Stinky » Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:27 am

SimonJester wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 8:15 am
Stinky wrote:
Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:52 am
Wow that seems a bit extreme given what probably happened. Is this a smaller bank / credit union? There is NO way anyone should sign that waiver...
The bank was BBVA Compass. About $90 billion in assets, 30th largest in the nation.
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by JohnFiscal » Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:09 am

I had a similar situation this month with Mrs. Fiscal's savings account at Royal Bank of Canada (we maintain this account north of the border for our transactions there).

A deposit of $501 showed up, identified as "EI Canada". Mrs. F knew nothing about this. Thoughts of some scam swept through my mind but then we decided it was extremely likely that this was someone's employment insurance (what we call "unemployment" here in US).

I notified RBC that this deposit was "not ours". I suggested that it could be employment insurance but had no way to know for certain. In the OP's case they knew it was the IRS so they could make contact directly, we were not positive of the source of this deposit.

While RBC was investigating there was a second deposit of $1,002 (twice the original amount...like there was one month and then another month of "EI", whatever that was). Notified RBC again.

This seems to have been sorted out as the two deposits were retracted. What bothers me is that RBC did not send a notice through the secure internal email system that this had been resolved.

And just today there is a new wrinkle to this. I checked the account while writing this and now there is an additional withdrawal of $501 from "Canada".

"EI Canada" deposited $501 and $1,002. Now it was drawn back $501, $1,002, and $501. Plus a $5 bank charge that must be related to all this. So now they're stealing from Mrs. Fiscal. I think this will require a phone call to the branch and I think we'll opt for the "new account number, please".

retired early&luv it
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Re: IRS "tax refund" for $53 - but we haven't filed yet

Post by retired early&luv it » Sun Feb 24, 2019 9:45 am

After hearing about the scams of people filing tax returns in names of other people and claiming big refunds, I set up an IRS account so I can check status.

Once a week starting at end of January I have been checking to make sure nobody has filed for me, it is in my electronic calendar to remind me to check. I plan to file my taxes in a few days, worked on them yesterday, plan to print them off today to do some manual checks before I e file in a few days.

Once they are filed and IRS says they have them, then I can quit checking their website until next January.

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