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Rip-Off Alert: Tax scams popular this time of year

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 4/15/2013 6:23 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- Tax time is here, and when there's money to be had, there are scam artists. In this Rip-Off Alert, one scheme is out there that is costing every one of us.

"They asked me if I had seen or noticed anything unusual in my neighborhood,” Bob said.”Absolutely.”

Bob doesn't want to show his face as he discusses suspicious activity linked to a multibillion-dollar scam. It starts with the theft of social security numbers belonging to residents of Puerto Rico. It ends with major theft from the U.S. Treasury.

"Puerto Ricans generally do NOT file federal income tax returns, but they are issued Social Security numbers,” said an undercover agent. “So the fraudsters will steal the SS numbers, dates of births and bring them up here to the United States to file federal income tax return checks,"

The con men direct the irs to send the refund checks to an address of someone they know or to easily accessible mailboxes like the one at Bob's house.

"This came to my house,” Bob said. “I had no idea who it was for and wrote ‘Return to sender’ right here and took it to the post office. I thought it was strange because it came in September."

Inspectors say bob did the right thing.

"We've intercepted billions of dollars in fraudulent federal tax return checks," the agent said.

Inspectors say they have done surveillance and undercover sting operations to arrest people in this scheme.

"We want our postal customers to inform us if they have received such type of checks in their mailbox,” the agent said.

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