Local authorities urge customers to be careful of scams while shopping online

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV)-- National Tax Security Awareness week kicks off this Monday, and local authorities are partnering with the IRS to help keep families' information safe.

Cyber Monday is prime-time for identity thieves to start hunting.

Officials urge online shoppers to only provide payment information on secure sites.

Authorities say to never wire money or send gift cards if you aren't sure who is receiving it, because once the money is gone, it's difficult to get it back.

"I've seen entire life savings wiped out in a day because someone had the quick lapse of judgement – smart, intelligent people who just thought maybe it's a good idea to send money out of the country,” says Madison Police Department Detective Samantha Kellogg.

Lara Sutherlin, an administrator with the Wisconsin Dept. of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, says customers need to be savvy about anything you get in your email.

"If someone sends you something and you think you know them, pick up the phone and call and ask. That's just one tip, if it's too good to be true it often is,” Sutherlin says.

If you've been a victim of fraud or identity theft, make sure to file a report with the federal trade commission.