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Tax Season Spawns Predators

Tax season has arrived and service members may fall victim to dangerous marketing scams when they file their 2005 income tax return.

As the April 15 filing deadline approaches, predatory marketers may convince individuals to invest their money in malicious businesses whose aim is to take advantage of the client.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service estimates that more than half of the income tax returns will be filed electronically this year. Taxpayers who use the IRS electronic filling system have a higher satisfaction rating than those who still use paper returns, according to the American Customer Survey Index.

This makes it easier for taxpayers to become prey to predatory marketing scams, according to Anthony Green, a personal financial management specialist with Marine Corps Community Services Personal Services Center. The easier and faster the money is to receive ? the easier it is to give away.

Abuse of charitable organizations and deductions, identity theft and inflated return preparer fees are a few of the income tax return scams the IRS warns taxpayers about in a yearly report called the ?Dirty Dozen.?

?The Dirty Dozen is a reminder that tax scams can take many forms,? said Mark W. Everson, the IRS commissioner. ?Don?t be fooled by false promises peddled by scam artist. They?ll take your money and leave you with a hefty tax bill.?

There are other schemes to be aware of besides income tax scams, including Okinawa, explained Green. There are also frivolous life insurance and investment scams.

The Department of Defense prohibits door-to-door sales and telemarketing on military installations around the world.

?Many of the salesmen are retired service members,? Green said. ?Service members have an inherent trust in their seniors ? junior Marines tend to get taken in these scams. Often, when service members realize they have been scammed, they don?t resolve the error because they are embarrassed.?

If you want to learn more about income tax return, life insurance and investment scams you can contact the MCCS PSC at 645-2104. The center also offers classes on investing and other financial topics.

For more information on suspected tax fraud issues visit the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov.

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