Have you been notified that someone used your information to file a fraudulent tax return using Intuit TurboTax? Please call Abbott Law Group attorneys as soon as you discover the identity theft.
TurboTax is a tax preparation software package used by millions of Americans nationwide each tax season in order to make the filing of their tax returns as easy and painless as possible. TurboTax was originally developed by Chipsoft in the mid-1980s, and, since then, has grown to become the most popular tax prep software. Chipsoft was acquired by Intuit Corporation, also known simply as Intuit, in 1993, which has offices in San Diego and is headquartered in Mountain View, California. While TurboTax is the most popular income tax prep software package, slightly edging out its competitors H&R Block at Home, TaxSlayer, and TaxACT, using it does not come without its risks. Just last year, a class action lawsuit was filed against Intuit after thousands of consumers reported having fraudulent tax returns filed in their names. The plaintiffs in the TurboTax class action lawsuit alleged that Intuit enabled fraudulent tax filings and identity theft because it failed to take necessary security precautions to protect consumers’ private information. Sadly, this is not the first lawsuit that Intuit has faced over TurboTax. Intuit reached a $6.55 million class action lawsuit settlement back in 2013 after the free TurboTax edition included exorbitantly high interest rates. If you believe any of your personal information has been compromised due to the fraudulent filing of a tax return in your name, whether you were a customer of TurboTax or not, contact the attorneys at Abbott Law Group today to discuss your legal options.
The complaint in the TurboTax lawsuit filed after last year’s tax season stated that Intuit has a duty to protect sensitive customer data, even guaranteeing on its website that “all TurboTax platforms offer a secure, easy-to-use experience.” However, Intuit failed in its duty to protect customers’ information and should be held liable for any damages that resulted. In a more general sense, the TurboTax lawsuit alleged that Intuit either knew or should have known about the increase in fraudulent tax return filings through its software, and that the company failed to take necessary measures to protect consumers’ private information. Intuit’s inaction enabled hackers to access customers’ and non-customers’ information and either sell that private information on the black market or file fraudulent tax returns themselves. Some of the information that was allegedly accessed included addresses, birth dates, social security numbers, bank account information, credit and debit card information, and much more.
While it is certainly concerning that users of TurboTax had their personal information compromised and fraudulent tax returns filed in their name, what’s more alarming is the fact that non-users and non-customers of TurboTax had fraudulent tax returns filed in their name on the tax prep software by the same cybercriminals. Michelle Fugatt, a named plaintiff in the TurboTax class action lawsuit, claimed that she was never a customer of TurboTax; however, in March 2015 she received a notification that a tax return had been filed in her name using the software. Fugatt is now at an increased risk for future identity theft and cannot qualify for certain government programs. This is also alarming because even if consumers try to avoid tax prep software that is susceptible to identity thieves, the risk is still not completely avoided. This is definitely something that non-users of TurboTax should be looking for as cybercriminals will, no doubt, try to duplicate this scam as they look to score big again this year.
Another particular group of taxpayers that should be on the lookout for suspicious activity this tax season, is those individuals who did not use TurboTax this tax season, but have used the tax prep software in past years. Christine Diaz, one of the named plaintiffs in the 2015 TurboTax class action lawsuit, stated that the last time she used the tax prep software to file her tax return was back in 2011; nevertheless, in January 2015 she was notified that federal and state tax returns had been filed in her name using TurboTax. Diaz later received a $200 bill from TurboTax for the fraudulent tax returns. Diaz claims that she is no longer eligible to file her taxes online, must pay for her credit to be monitored, and she is at risk for future identity theft. If you have experienced any issues or suspicious activity surrounding your TurboTax account, contact the attorneys of Abbott Law Group today.
All taxpayers, whether you are a user of TurboTax or not, should be on the lookout for suspicious activity surrounding their tax returns. Specifically, some things that taxpayers should be on the lookout for this tax season are:
Contact us today if you experience any of the issues mentioned above this tax season as the attorneys of Abbott Law Group are currently investigating the need for another possible tax preparation software lawsuit. If you have been affected by the fraudulent filing of a tax return in your name, had an unauthorized person or persons access your tax prep software account, received unjustified bills, or have been double billed by TurboTax, you may be entitled to compensation from Intuit. If you noticed any suspicious activity surrounding your TurboTax account or your tax return in general, whether you were a customer of TurboTax or not, contact the attorneys of Abbott Law Group today to discuss your legal options.