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Here's some good news during tax season. The IRS stopped 1 million fraudulent claims.


The number of identity theft victims plunged by 46 percent, to 376,000 people, CBS News reported. The significant drop comes after the Internal Revenue Service aggressively tackled what has become a multibillion-dollar scam industry that pick-pockets taxpayers' refunds.

According to the agency, the IRS stopped nearly one million fraudulent refunds from being issued last year, amounting to about $6.6 billion.

Identity theft, according to the IRS, occurs when criminals use taxpayers' Social Security numbers and birthdates to claim tax refunds.

“It’s a much more challenging time for the cybercrooks,” said Mark Ciaramitaro, vice president for retail tax products and services at H&R Block. “All of the easy paths have been closed.”

The headway made by the IRS, however, was a slow progression. The agency struggled for years to combat identity theft, particularly from 2010 to 2012 and "for a time overwhelmed law enforcement and the IRS,” said John Dalrymple, deputy IRS commissioner for services and enforcement."

In 2014, the agency identified more than 766,000 victims, totaling about $10.8 billion.

“We’ve driven a lot of the fraud out of the system,” Dalrymple said.

The IRS is susceptible for scammers because the agency issues more than $300 billion in tax refunds each year.

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