Users Of Turbo Tax Need To Know This
Last year, 29 million customers used TurboTax products, while TaxAct (a Blucora unit) and H&R Block, each helped with around seven million self-prepared returns. According to the states, the large amount of fraudulent filings appear to be affected mainly by returns that were prepared using TurboTax. For taxpayers, many questions are raised by the incident, including whether or not their personal data has been put at risk and whether preparing or submitting returns electronically is safe. The following are responses to some of these concerns.
I used TurboTax. Was my information compromised?
According to Intuit, it states that it is aware that due to well-publicized data breaches that some of its customers have become victims of identity theft. The company say it thinks that recent fraud incidents didn’t result from its systems being breached. This is based on the preliminary exam that it conducted along with help from independent security experts. A spokeswoman for Intuit recommends that customers – both those who haven’t and have filed their tax returns – to log into their TurboTax account to make sure that their information is accurate. Do Not Reply To Emails Asking For Financial Or Personal Information Turbo Tax Coupon Codes
If you receive a fake IRS contact via email, that is referred to as phishing. The latest phishing twist is an email that says it is from the IRS requesting you to update either your IRS profile or e-file. In addition, phishing refers to websites that have been designed for stealing your personal information, like your Social Security number. This information is used by criminals for stealing your money or identity. Once they have a Social Security number, they will be able to file a tax return using your name and get a refund.
Take the following precautions to avoid phishing scams:
– Don’t open emails that claim they are from the IRS. The IRS don’t send emails about refunds or your taxes.
– Avoid websites that promises results that seem too good to be true or sites that look suspicious.
– Don’t provide any financial information or your Social Security number in response to any request sent by email.
Use Reputable Tax Websites And Preparers
Not everybody offering to do your taxes for you are legitimate tax preparers. Phony tax reparation websites and prepares only want to steal your financial information and money.
The IRS requires a Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN) be obtained by tax preparers each year before they have the authorization for preparing federal tax returns. Don’t allow anyone who doesn’t have a PTIN prepare your tax return. You can also use the Directory of Federal Tax Return Preparers provided by the IRS to verify a tax preparer’s credentials. How To Claim Medical Expenses On Your Taxes
Ideally you should hire a tax prepare that you trust and know or an established tax preparation website with a good reputation. If someone new solicits you, be very careful with any tax preparer who:
– Bases their fees on how much your refund is
– Suggest that your refund be sent to them
– Is unable to file your return electronically
– Doesn’t include a PTIN or sign your return
With this year’s increase in suspicious tax filings, it has illustrated how hard it can be for tax authorities and tax preparation companies to catch up with tax criminals, who continue to become increasingly sophisticated.
The fraud for some taxpayers raises concerns about what they need to do to protect themselves when preparing and filing their tax returns. Some have sent in questions about what they need to do if they become a victim or how safe it is filing their returns.
I have addressed some of these questions here.
I use the desktop TurboTax software. Is that safe?
People using the desktop version of TurboTax’s software don’t need to create an online account, so they face the same threats that web customers do of having identity thieves taking over their accounts who are trying to access prior tax return years. Desktop customers instead prepare their returns and store them on their own personal computers and then submit them by either filing them electronically or printing them out and then mailing them in.
Intuit states that it stores and encrypts returns securely when they are transmitted to the IRS. According to senior security adviser Chester Wisniewski, with the security software vendor Sophos, typically this type of transmission is fairly secure and hard to hack. However, these taxpayers are vulnerable still to more traditional kinds of tax-related identity theft, since criminals might have obtained access to their personal information someplace else and then used it for stealing their refunds and filing fraudulent tax returns.