DETROIT (WWJ) – More than 100 people have been arrested in Michigan and nearly two dozen other states, accused of trying to rip off Uncle Sam.
IRS spokesman Luis Garcia says the government began a crackdown on identity theft after noticing an uptick in criminals filing fake returns through the IRS.
“They go out and either through the internet or by calling people up or by trolling certain websites, they are able to get basic information about people whether it’s their social security numbers, their names or their addresses. Then they file tax returns on behalf of these victims,” said Garcia.
“We stopped over 260,000 fake returns, they warranted over $1.4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds. We were able to stop those before the problem became any worse. We’ve decided to be very proactive and seek these people out,” said Garcia.
Garcia says in many cases, the suspects trolled the internet for personal information. In other cases, the suspects are themselves tax preparers. It’s unclear how many of the suspects are from Michigan.