Does Uncle Sam owe you money? Perhaps so, for by its own admission, the Federal government is holding almost $165 million owed to over 111,000 taxpayers in undeliverable or undelivered tax refunds. But beware – they are not going to contact you via email to confirm your personal information or to direct you to what seems to be a government site – that activity would be the sole provenance of scammers and crooks. In other words, the federal government may owe you unclaimed refund money but they will not seek you out to return it.
Let me be very, very clear about this: some of the scammers have sites that look like official government sites and might even have the words “IRS,” “government,” or “gov” in them. This does not make them legitimate. The only site to visit and to share your personal information with always has www.irs.gov in the address.
According to the official Internal Revenue website, you need only to update your address their addresses with the ” Where’s My Refund?” tool on IRS.gov or reach the telephone version of “Where’s My Refund?” by calling 1-800-829-1954. The website notes that you only need to update your address once for the IRS to deliver the check or checks due you. The amount of money we’re speaking of in not insignificant, averaging $1,471 this year.
The Internal Revenue Service also recommends that taxpayers both file electronically and obtain their refund by electronic funds transfer (EFT), if possible, in order to decrease the number of checks returned due to incorrect, old, or incomplete addresses.
Again, this point cannot be stressed enough and is quoted verbatim from the IRS site: “The public should be aware that the IRS does not contact taxpayers by e-mail to alert them of pending refunds and that such messages are common identity theft scams. The agency urges taxpayers not to release any personal information, reply, open any attachments or click on any links to avoid malicious code that will infect their computers. The best way for an individual to verify if she or he has a pending refund is going directly to IRS.gov and using the ” Where’s My Refund?” tool.”