Tax refund thefts | What the Tech?
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (WHAT THE TECH?) — While many choose automatic bank deposits for their tax refund, 20% of U.S. taxpayers choose to get theirs via a check in the mail.
As they wait for the refund to arrive in the mail, the bad guys are waiting too. Mailbox thefts have also been on the rise for years and tax season is a prime opportunity for thieves to take what is yours.
Here’s how you can protect your money.
If you’re expecting a refund from the IRS, keep an eye on its website for when your refund will be delivered. IRS.gov/Refunds gives you a heads up when it can be expected. Just enter your social security number and filing status and the exact amount of the refund.
You can also download the IRS app, IRS-2-Go, for updates.
You should also sign up for the US Postal Service’s delivery notifications. This service sends an email every morning about what mail is going to be delivered. It’s not just a list of items, but it’s grayscale photos of each piece of mail that will be in your mailbox.
To sign up, just go to the postal service website and answer a few questions for proof of residency. In addition to the email each morning, you can log onto a website to see every piece of mail and every package over the previous week. If you don’t receive a piece of mail, you can report it as being undelivered.
If you don’t sign up for your home address, someone else can be tipped off when an important piece of mail such as new credit and debit cards will be delivered.
It isn’t just refund checks they’re after, either. The Postal Service and the FBI warn crooks are looking for personal information and one piece of mail can include everything they need to steal your identity.
If you’re expecting a refund check in the mail don’t receive it, report the missing mail to the Postal Service and your local police department.