For early bird filers, the tax-refund check is in the mail

Watch your mailbox, early-bird filers: Your tax refund should be arriving soon.

So far, the IRS has distributed more than 14 million refunds as of the week ending Feb. 10. The average amount has been $2,058. Both of these figures are expected to rise as the agency processes more returns.

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"The IRS is trying to be more careful about refunds," said Ed Slott, a CPA and founder of Ed Slott and Co. in Rockville Centre, New York. "Identity thieves file fake returns early and collect the refunds."

Thieves have a variety of ways to snag your personal details, including impersonating the IRS on the phone or sending emails with malicious links.

Often, the victim of a tax refund scam doesn't figure out what's going on until he or she tries to file and the IRS rejects the return.

The IRS reported a 400 percent surge in phishing and malware incidents — identity theft over the web — during the 2016 tax season.


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