Hackers are targeting your tax refunds. Just this month, TurboTax shut down for 24 hours because of a spike in fraudulent filings. And it’s the victims who are left to sort out the problems.
We spoke with a Polk County woman who found out she was a victim of tax fraud after using TurboTax.
“We got our W-2s on Friday, we filed on Sunday,” she said. “It was February 1. Nice and early. That’s what they say to do. And it was too late.”
Just an hour after filing online through TurboTax, she received an e-mail stating her return had been rejected.
“Someone had already used my social security number to file their taxes,” she said.
Since her identity has already been compromised, this victim asked to remain anonymous as she shares her story.
“As now a family of five, we depend on that tax refund,” she said. “We need a new roof. There are things that we had planned to do with it. Now all have to be held off.”
It has taken her family weeks of phone calls with the IRS, Social Security Administration, Federal Trade Commission, multiple credit agencies and law enforcement, with no end in sight.
She said she has no hope of ever finding out who stole her social security number.
“The Sheriff’s office says very unlikely,” she said.
And that’s what has cyber security expert Jaime Halscott warning others about this growing crime.
“With our lives being increasingly digital, it’s much easier for your identity, for your information to be stolen,” Halscott said.
“We’re very careful about all of that,” the victim said.
She said the IRS is working to get her a refund within the next 180 days. It is not known how her information was stolen, but security experts said when preparing your taxes online at home, to be sure to have the most up-to-date antivirus software and the latest firewall protection to stop hackers.