Business Report: Oil prices drop
Drivers are paying a little bit less at the pump as oil prices fall, and the IRS crackdown on identity theft seems to be working.
The price of U.S. crude oil has dropped below $50 for the first time since December as a global supply glut continues even after production cuts by exporters. U.S. crude supplies have risen for nine straight weeks, reaching a record 528.4 million barrels. The effects of lower oil prices have been felt through the economy. Gas prices have been falling since early January, putting more money in drivers pockets. Gasbuddy.com reports gas prices peaked at $2.38 on January 8, but have since fallen to $2.30.
In other business news, the IRS crackdown on identity theft seems to be working. The tax agency reports that the number of victims last year dropped by 46% to 376,000. Nearly one million fraudulent refunds were stopped totaling about $6.6 billion. The IRS has beefed up its computer filters to identify potentially fake returns and two years ago the agency began teaming up with major tax preparers and state tax agencies to share information and improve security.