The Internal Revenue Service is warning metro-east tax-filers about a scam that could cost them.
IRS officials in Illinois say phoney tax preparers are luring mostly low-income and non-English-speakers with promises of big tax refunds.
The scammers may appear very legitimate, often setting up shop in a storefront office. They use the victim's personal and financial information to file false tax returns, pocketing the money.
The victims don't get a refund, and some have lost federal benefits, like social security or veterans benefits because of the scams.
IRS officials say taxpayers should be wary of tax preparers who don't ask for proof of income and eligibility for credits and deductions.