Reporter - Danielle Lerner

Mar 1, 2012 7:00 PM by Danielle Lerner

IRS warns of "Dirty Dozen" tax scams for 2012

Tax time is in full swing and the IRS is warning taxpayers to keep an eye out for the "Dirty Dozen." It is a list of this year's most popular tax scams and they could end up costing you a lot of time and money. One special agent says he's seeing an increase in identity theft this year so it is even more important to protect your personal information.

"They'll find your information one way or another, use your social security number, file a return without you knowing about it," said IRS Special Agent Brian Watson. "The first time people usually find out about it is when they file their return, but get a letter from the IRS saying someone has already filed a return using that social security number."

Other scams to watch out for include phishing, where criminals send unsolicited emails trying to steal your personal information.

"They'll send you an email saying you're owed $75 in a refund and they want you to click on that site," Watson said. "Don't click on that site."

Watson says the IRS is not going to contact you through email, you will get an actual letter from them. Meantime in Phoenix and Tucson, investigators are also watching tax preparers closely after an upswing in fraud cases.

"Basically return preparers who are skimming from their client's refund," said Watson.

The moral of the story here is if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

"If someone is promising a very large rate of return that's a red flag, anyone who charges their fee on a percentage of the refund, that's another red flag as well," said Watson.

For a closer look at the "Dirty Dozen" just click here.

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