SAN ANTONIO -- There’s a new threat at tax time: Criminals are stealing identities to snag tax refunds that don't belong to them.
It’s the latest scam that is keeping IRS agents busy.
“We are aggressively are going after identity thieves who are using that information to file false tax returns,” said IRS Special Agent Michael LeMoine.
Debra Coleman of San Antonio is one of two suspects who was arrested on Tuesday. She was charged with six counts of aggravated identity theft and wire fraud.
IRS agents said Coleman stole several people’s social security numbers and filed fake W-2s. They said she filed for refunds totaling more than a million dollars.
LeMoine added, “There were numerous tax returns where the final harm to the government is going to be at least $100,000.”
Agents say free e-filing services make it easy to have the tax refund downloaded into a debit card account.
The feds say Michael White had been filing false returns for years. White was indicted on seven counts, including aggravated ID theft, mail fraud and theft of government property.
Victims would find out later they had been swindled after their returns were rejected.
The IRS expects $4 billion a year in this type of tax fraud.