Tax Cheats: St. Louis Metro rises to #3 in identity theft cases -

Tax Cheats: St. Louis Metro rises to #3 in identity theft cases

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( -

Tax fraud is a big problem across the country, but it's an enormous problem in St. Louis. The metro area is near the top of a list no one wants to be on.

There are a lot of questions as to why identity theft appears to be worse in St. Louis than in other metro areas.

For years, News 4 has gone after the crooks that “con” the system. So has Steve Wigginton, the U.S. Attorney for Southern Illinois, and his office isn't seeing a slowdown.

“In our office... we are very aggressive in going after individuals that steal tax money” said Wigginton.

Last week, News 4's Chris Nagus visited the Federal Trade Commission in Washington D.C. An FTC lawyer revealed that St. Louis now ranks third in the country for identity theft. Only Miami and Seattle have more reported cases per capita than St. Louis.

St. Louis chalked up more than 5,700 complaints in 2014. But the number only takes into account the people that report the fraud to the FTC. Many people only call the Internal Revenue Service, so the numbers are believed to be a very conservative estimate.

Even the FTC attorney was surprised to see St. Louis near the top.

“This is a big change and big news that the Midwest is now a bigger part of the problem than it's been in the past few years,” said FTC lawyer Lisa Schifferle.

In the past the majority of tax fraud cases were focused in Washington D.C., Georgia and Florida.

The FTC doesn't know why cases of identity fraud have spiked in St. Louis, but it's hard to ignore continued data breaches which are hitting Missouri consumers hard.

If you were a victim of Tax Fraud Identity Theft, click here to find out the steps you need to take to protect yourself.

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