WASHINGTON (AP) - An Internet connection and a bunch of stolen identities are all it takes for crooks to collect billions of dollars in bogus federal tax refunds. And the scam is proving too pervasive to stop.
The crime is attracting more attention as the April 15 tax-filing deadline approaches.
Attorney General Eric Holder says the "scale, scope and execution of these fraud schemes" has increased. In the past year, the Justice Department has charged 880 people.
A November watchdog report says the IRS issued $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds over the previous year to criminals using other people's personal information. The Internal Revenue Service says it's making a dent in the problem, opening more criminal investigations and strengthening controls designed to detect the fraud.