As I reported to you previously, earlier this month following a rash of fraudulent state income tax filings using Turbo Tax software in nineteen states, Turbo Tax temporarily suspended electronic state income tax filings through Turbo Tax. Although the matter is still under investigation, it does not appear that Turbo Tax was hacked. More likely it is that identity thieves who already obtained the Social Security numbers of their victims were using Turbo Tax’s convenient software to file fraudulent return in which they claim phony refunds. On the federal level, this is a 5.2 billion dollar problem annually. Now, enterprising identity thieves are sending out phishing emails that appear to be sent by Turbo Tax in which the email recipient is told that there is a problem with the person’s electronically filed income tax return and that they need to click on a link and provide personal information in order to rectify the problem. This is a scam that is intended either to lure the victim into downloading keystroke logging malware that will steal personal information from the victim’s computer or other electronic device and use that information to make the person a victim of identity theft or to lure the victim into providing the personal information directly to the identity thief posing as Turbo Tax.
Whenever you get an email or a text message either asking for personal information directly or instructing you to click on a link, you should not respond until you have absolutely confirmed that the email or text message is legitimate. Making a counterfeit email look official is child’s play so even if the communication looks legitimate, you should not trust it. The better course of action is to contact the company directly at a telephone number, email address or website that you know is legitimate to confirm whether the original communication was legitimate. Scammers and identity thieves always take advantage of the latest public concerns to convince people to provide information used to make them victims of identity theft.