(Bloomberg) The U.S. Justice Department and the Internal Revenue Service are working to head off identity theft aimed at stealing people’s tax refunds when the filing season begins in January, the government’s top tax prosecutor said.

The Justice Department will draw information from local prosecutions to identify patterns in the cases and help the IRS create computerized filters to block potentially fraudulent refunds. They peak each year in the first few weeks of the filing season as criminals try to get refunds under legitimate taxpayers’ names before those people file their own returns.

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