In the new 2003 ranking, several new scams have reached the top of the consumer watch list, including offshore banking and identity theft schemes.

At the top of the list is offshore transactions, which some people use to avoid paying income tax. Use of an offshore credit card, trust or other arrangement to hide or underreport income or to claim false deductions on a federal tax return is illegal.

Other scams to watch for include identity theft, phony tax payment checks, slavery reparations, improper home-based businesses, "pay the tax, then get the prize," frivolous protestor arguments, and situations where a phony IRS agent arrives to collect taxes due.

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