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ID theft tops IRS tax scams list

Tax fraud through stolen identity tops the Internal Revenue Service’s list of tax scams this year.

It’s one of the biggest items on the IRS radar, said spokesman Michael Devine from the St. Louis office, who said they are attacking this problem aggressively.

The IRS has 3,000 people working on identity theft-related cases, according to Devine –more than double the number of employees dedicated to this problem in late 2011.

While they have seen progress from preventing $20 billion of fraudulent refunds during 2012, compared to $14 billion in 2011, the IRS urges people to take extra precautions to prevent their Social Security numbers from being used against them.

An identity thief only needs to find out your name and Social Security number to file your taxes.

Therefore, it’s important to use trusted sources to prepare your taxes.

About 60 percent of taxpayers will file taxes with the help of tax professionals this year, the IRS estimates.

Certified accountants and established tax firms assure some credibility, said Devine, while mobile tax shops can be less reliable, because when you need them, you can’t find them.

The annual “Dirty Dozen” list released by the IRS Tuesday includes common scams taxpayers encounter any time of the year.

Other scams on that list include phishing, a practice carried out by unsolicited forms of communication through emails or a fake website that poses as a legitimate site to lure potential victims into giving up their sensitive information.

According to the IRS, many of these schemes peak during tax filing season.

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