IRS releases "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams - - Jackson, MS

IRS releases "Dirty Dozen" list of tax scams

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

It costs taxpayers and Uncle Sam billions of dollars each year; criminals who try to outsmart the system to rob you of tax refunds or drain bank accounts. The Internal Revenue Service has released its Dirty Dozen list of tax scams you need to avoid.

At the top of the IRS Dirty Dozen list, identity theft, but phone scams and phishing schemes remain big problems.

"It hurts us because the individual perpetrators are attempting to steal billions of dollars from the United States tax payer base via false income tax returns," said James McDuffie,  Special Agent in Charge of the IRS New Orleans Field Office. "Those billions of dollars could be used for education, health, health services, roads and other important governmental functions."

McDuffie's office oversees criminal investigations in Mississippi and Louisiana. He says anyone can become a victim.

"We've seen a 400% uptick with respect to these phishing scams," added McDuffie. "Now they're targeting companies, they're targeting payrolls, and human resources."

On March 10, three Jackson residents were indicted, charged with 14 counts including theft of government funds, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. They are accused of taking over 30 thousand dollars from victims in Meridian, Port Gibson and Roxie.

"Having your identity stolen turns your life completely upside down," McDuffie explained. "You have to deal with the creditors, you have to spend money, time, and effort and energy trying to get yourself back on track."

McDuffie says don't wait until the last minute to file taxes, never give too much information over the phone, and be vigilant.  He also says communicate often with elderly relatives who can be easy targets for crooks.

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