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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money

Is that email from the IRS for real?

Feeling frazzled with the holiday buzz? Now is an especially important time to be on your guard against scams and fraud.

For example, I've received several emails lately claiming to be from the IRS. However, the IRS will NOT send you an email to request personal or financial information. If you receive an email claiming to be from the IRS that contains a request for personal information, this is what you need to do:

  • Do not reply.
  • Do not open any attachments. Attachments may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.
  • Do not click on any links.
  • Forward the email as-is, to the IRS at
  • After you forward the email and/or header information to the IRS, delete the original email message you received.
  • If you clicked on links in a suspicious email or phishing website and entered confidential information, visit the IRS website,, for information about identity theft.

You may have heard in the news that the IRS is trying to contact taxpayers who did not receive their refund checks. This is true, but you won't be contacted by email. Taxpayers who believe their refund check may have been returned to the IRS as undelivered should use the "Where's My Refund?" tool on The tool will provide the status of their refund and, in some cases, instructions on how to resolve delivery problems.

Taxpayers checking on a refund over the phone will receive instructions on how to update their addresses. Taxpayers can access a telephone version of "Where's My Refund?" by calling 1-800-829-1954.

To avoid problems in the future with receiving any tax refunds, I recommend using direct deposit. It's safe and fast. You can choose to receive refunds directly into your checking or savings account, split a tax refund into two or three financial accounts or even buy a savings bond.

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