Information Security

Avoid Tax Refund Fraud

United States taxpayers are required to file their 2020 taxes by April 15, 2021. What you may not know is that, as of January 15, 2021, you could have begun filing your taxes early. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recommends that taxpayers file their taxes as early as possible to avoid tax refund fraud. Tax refund fraud is when cybercriminals pretend to be a certain individual and submit a tax return in that individual’s name.

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to determine if you have been a victim of tax refund fraud until it is too late. If you submit your tax return electronically, and it is rejected due to a previous submission under your social security number, you may have fallen victim to this scam. Immediately report any problems to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at

As always, watch out for suspicious emails, phone calls, and text messages since tax-related scams are at their peak during tax season. Remember, the IRS will never demand immediate payment to a source other than the U.S. Treasury, or threaten arrest, fines, or penalties for missing tax payments.

Safely file, pay owed taxes, and keep your personally identifiable information secure with the following cybersafe tips:

n File early. Filing taxes early means criminals can’t do it first.

n Verify the sender. The IRS will never initiate communication by phone, email, or text.

n Monitor your accounts. Continuously monitor bank accounts for unusual activity or unauthorized deposits.

For more information on how, when, and where to safely file your taxes, see the IRS Fact Sheet:

For more helpful tips about cybersecurity best practices, visit the CyberSafe at USPS® websites on Blue ( and LiteBlue (