SAN DIEGO — Tax season arrived with a bang this year with talk about tax fraud.
Intuit, the San Diego-based company that owns TurboTax, said instances of fraudulent state returns “did not result from a security breach of its systems.”
The investigation is ongoing. In the meantime, TurboTax has beefed up its security to protect customers.
But whether or not you file your taxes electronically makes no difference in how likely you are to become a victim.
Digital Forensics investigator Daniel Libby said last year, hackers stole more than 6.5 million social security numbers.
“It’s not an issue of TurboTax being hacked and this being done,” Libby said. “This is simply somebody using that, the cyber criminals using that application for evil purposes and they’re getting the bad press but it certainly is not TurboTax’s or Quicken’s problem.”
The IRS estimates it paid out $5.2 billion in fraudulent tax refunds in 2014. It was also able to stop $24.2 billion in bogus refunds last year.
Victims of tax fraud need to act quickly, IRS spokesperson Raphael Tolino said. He said your best way of beginning an investigation is through the Internal Revenue’s website.
“Resources are there if you’ve been a victim of identity theft…We’ve got a lot of resources there on the website. We’ve got a lot of resources in terms of prevention, detection, filters in place, to help folks out,” said Tolino.
The IRS has online resources at www.IRS.gov as well as a hotline.
TurboTax customers can call its hotline. The company said it will prepare taxes for affected customers for free, and provide identity protection services along with free credit monitoring.
To assist any customers who believe they are victims of tax fraud, Intuit has implemented a plan that includes a dedicated toll-free number: 1-800-944-8596.