It’s tax time, and here’s a tax tip you might not know about: The scammers LOVE tax season! How can this be? Here’s a way that they exploit you for their profit. So be warned and be aware.
I’ve been getting emails (supposedly) from Intuit, the publisher of the very popular Turbo Tax program. This email looks like this (I’ve de-activated the links so that no one can click on it):
With a view to ensure that correct data is being kept up on our systems, as well as to be able to give you better quality of service; INTUIT INC. has participated in the Internal Revenue Service [IRS] Name and TIN Matching Program.
It appears that your name and/or Employer Identification Number, that we have on your account does not match the data on file with the IRS and/or SSA.
In order to verify the information on your account, please enter the site.
2632 Marine Way
Mountain View, CA 94043
The (fake) return address of this email is ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. Quickbooks is an Intuit product, so some folks might start to believe that this email is “real”. But what happens if you click on the link? It takes you to a site where nothing good can happen. The link in my copy of the email has already been taken down, but usually links like this point to sites that try to trick you into giving them personal information like your Social Security Number (SSN). The bad guys might also try to download malicious software (malware) onto your computer from the site.
So, what can the bad guys do with your SSN? Here’s something that may surprise you: they file a tax return! Yep, that’s right they file a tax return with your name and SSN, and it shows a refund is due. Of course, the info provided to the IRS on where to send the refund points to the bad guy’s checking account. You won’t find out about this until the IRS notifies you at some later time about either filing a duplicate return, or having unreported income. By this time the scumbags have fled to parts unknown.
This is why the bad guys love tax season. Just another way to make money off of other people. Just remember that the IRS does not contact people via email, and Intuit does not keep track of your SSN either. For more info about identity theft and tax fraud, check out this report by the Government Accounting Office.
Da Haole Boy