What the Tech: Tax refund thefts

Here’s how to keep a close watch on the mail you receive, and the mail you were supposed to receive.
Published: Apr. 28, 2023 at 5:32 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Mailbox thefts have been on the rise for years and tax season is a prime opportunity for crooks to take what’s yours.

A bad guy follows behind a mail delivery truck. Seconds after the drop-off, the crook pulls up, grabs what’s in the mailbox, and takes off.

If they get a check, they’ll change the name and cash it. And you won’t report it, because you didn’t know it was in there.

Here’s how to keep a close watch on the mail you receive, and the mail you were supposed to receive.

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. Not just a list of items, but 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 packages over the previous week. And if you don’t receive a piece of mail, you can report it as being undelivered.

And 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. And it isn’t just refunded checks they’re after. 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.

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