Personal Finance

For early filers, that 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 started distributing refunds on Feb. 15 for certain early filers.

Assuming there were no problems with processing your return, your refund most will likely come in the week of Feb. 27.

A new law required the federal agency to delay the entire refund for households that filed early and claim the earned income tax credit or the additional child tax credit.

This gives the IRS more time to detect phony returns and keep cash out of scammers' hands.

Mnuchin: IRS lacks first rate technology
Mnuchin: IRS lacks first rate technology

"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.