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IRS cracking down on identity theft, tax fraud in the Bay Area

This tax season, the IRS is watching out for several metropolitan areas, including the Bay Area, as being the most risky for identity theft. Tax experts say Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose are among the most high-risk in the country for tax return fraud and identity theft due to a number of circumstances - the area's dense population and tech-savvy residents being only a couple of reasons.

Some may find the new movie on identity theft to be funny, but receiving an identity theft charge is no laughing matter. With more and more people becoming bold enough to try several forms of Internet fraud including fraudulent tax returns, the IRS is attempting to put more resources into cracking down on computer fraud. Recent Bay Area convictions for identity theft average one to 10 years, but more serious penalties for Internet crime are emerging, with some receiving up to 20 years.

Identity theft is becoming more pervasive with the wide availability of personal information online, online transactions becoming more popular and an abundance of tech-savvy programmers in the Silicon Valley. As government agencies work to stop more people from becoming victims, cyber crime is likely to carry more serious charges.

However, people who have been accused of being involved in a computer crime are innocent until proven guilty. People have also been mistakenly accused of a crime they haven't committed, which is very possible in today's computer age. If you're accused of Internet fraud, having the proper defense lawyer could go a long way toward helping your situation.

Source: Contra Costa Times, "Bay Area risky for identity theft, tax fraud," Heather Somerville, Feb. 9, 2013

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