Why big tax refunds put giant target on the unsuspecting citizen

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By Liz Weston

People who don’t have much money during the rest of the year can become big targets during tax refund season.

For those living paycheck to paycheck, tax refunds — which average around $3,000 — may be the largest chunk of unobligated cash they see all year. Retailers hope to get some of that money, but so do debt collectors, buy-here-pay-here car lots and purveyors of interest-free loans that come with fat fees. People flush with cash need to proceed with caution.

Collectors step up calls and mailings during tax season because they know more people “will have some extra cash to address past problems,” says Michael Bovee, president of debt settlement company Consumer Recovery Network in Spokane, Wash.

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