(WASHINGTON) -- Tax day is less than two weeks away, and this year, for the first time ever, the Federal Trade Commission says tax refunds are the No. 1 target of identity thieves.
The FTC said complaints fall into three main categories:
Fake Tax Prep Services: Thieves offer to do other people's taxes for free. They then file fraudulent returns with Uncle Sam, and hijack the refunds for themselves.
Employment Fraud: A crook gets a real job, but gives a stolen Social Security number. The crime is revealed when the person with that Social Security number gets a notice saying they failed to declare income.
Stealing Dependents: In this scenario, crooks snag a child's Social Security number, then lie on their returns by claiming the child as their own -- all to try to score a larger refund.
"From the criminal's perspective, a little bit of money from a great number of people starts to add up," said Steven Toporoff, an attorney at the FTC.
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