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How to Keep Your Refund Safe from Thieves

For many Americans, tax season can be an emotional roller coaster – there’s the stress of tracking down all the necessary forms, getting your information submitted on time, followed by the happy surprise of a refund. Unfortunately, for too many of us, tax season can mean something else.

In fact, one report found that in 2016 the IRS identified over 42,000 tax returns with $227 million claimed in fraudulent refunds. For the real filer, this can mean a significant delay in receiving a refund, and a lot of time and effort getting the situation sorted out. So how can you make sure you receive your refund?

File early.

Once the IRS receives a filing with your Social Security number, they will reject any subsequent filings, so try to beat the crooks to the punch and get your taxes filed ASAP. Even if you owe money, it’s still important to file early. (You’ll have until tax day in April to pay the amount due.)

photo of tax paperwork

Opt for direct deposit.

If you are eligible for a refund, choose to receive your funds via direct deposit into your checking or savings account. (The IRS will even split your refund into multiple accounts, making it easier to save!) Funds provided via direct deposit are easier to track, quicker to receive and more secure than a paper check.

What should you do if you fall victim?

Even with precautions, some people will still experience tax fraud. What should you do if you’re one of the unlucky few?

Contact the IRS immediately. If you receive a message that your taxes have already been received when you’re filing, then contact the IRS immediately.

Visit the IRS’s tax fraud page to determine which number to call and which forms to use.

Start protecting your identity.

In today’s digital age, it’s more important than ever to proactively protect your identity. That’s why our Green Checking account now includes IDProtect®, a complete credit monitoring and resolution service. If you are a Green Checking client, there is no additional fee to enroll in IDProtect, and it covers you AND your eligible family members.

With IDProtect®you’ll get access to:

  1. Fully-managed recovery process with a dedicated fraud specialist.
  2. Reimbursement for identity theft expenses up to $10,000.
  3. Total monitoring in more than 1,000 databases to determine if your identity was compromised.
  4. Alerts and updates of key changes to your credit reports.

Are you protecting your identity? 

IDProtect®is already included with a Green Checking account – all you’ve got to do is register using your activation code at Can’t find your activation code? Contact your local branch or call us at 800-324-9375 or email at

If you’re not yet a Green Checking client, then contact your local branch or call us at 800-324-9375.

For product disclosures and more information about IDProtect and other My WaFd Wins benefits, please visit our My WaFd Wins page. IDProtect® is not insured by FDIC or any Federal Government Agency; not a deposit of or guaranteed by the bank or any bank affiliate. Registration/enrollment required at

Green Checking requires $100 deposit to open and costs $6 a month. Visit our Checking page for more information on account requirements.