My Identity Theft

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Sunday evening, February 12, 2012, I reached home from work and settled down to put together all of my paperwork to finally do my taxes. I’ve completed my own taxes since I was 18 years old and tonight would be no different. For the past three years I used Turbo Tax the online service that so nicely walks you through each step of the process, assures you get the maximum refund possible, and electronically files your taxes for you at little or no cost. I also liked the fact that a lot of my personal information was already stored with Turbo Tax from previous years and much of this information was auto-populated onto this years return – without me needing to re-enter it.

I gathered all of my paperwork, logged in to Turbo Tax and began the process. It took me just a little over an hour and I was happy to see that I would be getting back somewhere close to $5,000 this year. I was very pleased and was asked to evaluate the service on a pop-up survey just before submitting my return electronically. After giving Turbo Tax an excellent 10 on the survey, I was then asked why I gave them such a high score and was prompted to enter that information into a comment box. I replied with “I gave Turbo Tax such a great score because they are efficient, easy to use and I get the maximum return quickly”.

At this point I was happy as could be. I electronically signed my return, selected direct deposit (my bank account information was already there from last year), and then chose “e-file”. All I had to do was hit continue or submit (can’t remember which) and my tax return was on it’s way to the illustrious IRS for fulfillment.

In approximately 15 sTurbo Tax e file duplicate tax return messageeconds the following message appeared on my screen: Your Transmission Didn’t Go Through – We could not e-file you return for the following reason: Duplicate Social Security Number: A tax return with the same Social Security number has already been submitted – in other words, it appears you’re trying to e-file the same return twice. If you need to change this return, you’ll need to file an amended return on paper, by mail.

The first thing I thought was “WTF” (we all know what that means I hope) (if not, it means what the f*ck)? Then I thought, “Something must be wrong with my computer”. So I resubmitted it. Guess what? I received the same message. I thought I was losing my mind, I mean hell, I would definitely remember submitting my tax return. I know I’m always running around like a chicken with my head cut off but could I have submitted a tax return and forgot about it? Not!

Soooo….where do we all turn when we run into some sh*t we know nothing about these days – Google and Facebook right? So the first thing I do is post a message on my Facebook page indicating what just happened to me and low and behold someone chimes in telling me their story and how it happened to them, what they went through, how long it took them to get their tax return money back and this last key factor – they all used Turbo Tax last year or in the past.

Phase II – I begin to Google tax fraud, stolen tax returns, etc., and Turbo Tax keeps popping up everywhere. The next day I go to work and half of my co-workers have either experience the same fraud or know at least two people who it has happened to and guess what? One hundred percent that’s (100% percent) had all used Turbo Tax – CoinkiDink (my version of coincidence).

Now I can’t sit here and research this entire situation all day because I have work and homework to do. But I can tell you that I after talking to the IRS I was told to report the incident to the police, contact the FTC, fill out an affidavit and submit it along with my tax returns by snail mail and then they will begin to investigate it and if I’m lucky the soonest I “might” possibly get my money back is an “estimated” six months. By the way, everyone I spoke to said it took them at least a year to get their money back.

All that being said I have a few questions:

  1. Why is the government sending out money so easily to people with no proof whatsoever that it belongs to them? Hell, you need identification just to buy a pack of cigarettes but not to receive thousands of dollars of someones hard earned money??
  2. Are we going to earn interest on this lost money that we are due if we even get it back at all?
  3. Did Turbo Tax have a severe breach of security or were they severely hacked and are somehow keeping it all under wraps?
  4. What are Turbo Tax’s hiring policies? This sounds like an inside job to me “I’m just saying”

Almost forgot, while looking on Google I found a very informative website that directed me as to what steps to take once you have become a victim of Turbo Tax fraud by Googling: Someone Stole My Social Security Number To File Taxes. What Should I Do?

Feel free to chime in at any time and tell your story on our home page! Thanks

 

15 comments

  1. Emily

    I love this blog… similar story, and I’m documenting it as well.

    I’m curious… where did you get the information on the potential for 6 months – 1 year timeline for receiving your return? The IRS?! Holy crap… the IRS had no issues telling me I’ll probably not see it for 18 months to 2 years. Talk about conflicting information. No wonder people are so p.o.’d, we can’t even get a relatively straight answer!

    Either way, great site…

    • Angela Beasley

      Thank you Emily. And it was actually the IRS who gave me the potential six months time-frame. However when I called them back a second time I was told the same thing you were told; 18 months to two years.

  2. Will

    Happend to me last week exactly as you laud out. I’m so mad but glad I found your site. Great forum and useful tips. I’m seeking legal advice against Turbo Tax and the IRS for not catching this or employing any safety alerts.
    Will from Dallas, TX

  3. Stephanie

    Same thing happened to me last year! and yes I used Turbo Tax as well. Worst experience ever! I didn’t get my taxes till October and I was lucky because I had to make several phone calls and fill out a form saying I needed the money asap! So basically only if its an emergency and you need to answer questions and provide proof you need your own hard earned money,IRS makes a claim and assigns a rep to take care of your case and believe it is a very long process. The only good news is Yes , you do earn interest but it is not much. Also I would highly recommend you go to the social security office and report what has happened because you need to check if the individual using your social is using it for employment, credit cards, etc. Its a good idea to check. Social Security will do absolutely nothing for you because it is a common thing for them. But it is important you know if you hace fraud anywhere else and then figure out on your own how your going to fix it. Oh and the police did absolutely nothing for me either they didnt even do a police reposrt . So GOOD LUCK!

    • Angela Beasley

      Hello Stephanie,

      Yeah, its happened to so many of us. I have since figured out that it really doesn’t matter what filing service you use. Once thieves get your return its gone and then you wind up finding out when you go to file your taxes no matter what service you use. So many people use Turbo Tax that its just seems like the entire situation is connected. I’m glad to hear you finally got your return. Also, yes, checking and reporting with the Social Security Office is a great idea. You never know what has been affected by this person stealing your identity or social security number or what all they have done with it. Thank you for the comment and advice!

  4. Dr. Davieson

    I just bought and used Turbo Tax software. I wish I had researched the background before doing so! I hope and pray I don’t become the next victim. I will be checking my credit from time to time.

    • Angela Beasley

      Dr Davieson, Although I used the TurboTax for my taxes when I had my tax return stolen I have found out that there are many, many ways for fraudsters and/or thieves to steal your identity and many of them have nothing to do with TurboTax. However I do suggest that you check your credit from time-to-time simply because it is a good thing to do for many reasons including something like having your social security number stolen.

      Thanks for writing.

  5. Loren

    I just experienced being a victim of identity theft tax fraud and found your site. Someone stole my info and filed taxes on TurboTax. What blows my mind is the huge prevalence of this and TurboTax does nothing about it – they even enable it, making it so easy for criminals to file and get returns on a prepaid card. I even caught it early (within a few minutes of them being filed) and they offered me no solution, no person within their organization to talk to and they even refused to give me their legal department’s contact info. I’ve read so many articles that talk about this being a problem and mentioning TurboTax’s laissez faire attitude, even saying their “not in the enforcement business.” Of course they’re not, they’re in the money making business and as long as people are filing taxes with them, legitimately or fraudulently, they make money. The federal government is loosing BILLIONS because of their and TurboTax’s lax policy. There needs to be more solutions offered to victims. We end up with a huge mess and nobody left in our corner. This is so frustrating!

  6. Cynthia

    I stumbled on this blog and am going through the same thing. When I called the identity theft about my 2012 tax issue so they could give me an estimate on when I get my refund, the lady found out someone used my social AGAIN this year to file too. I already talked to SS about the problem and they said they put a flag on it and so did the IRS. How the hell did this happen again?! The IRS should be paying me a penalty for all this crap I have to go through…AGAIN.

  7. Kelli

    Someone went into TurboTax and filed our taxes this year and received $4,175! We notified TT the very next morning (they filed at 10:39pm, January 17, 2014, we called at 8am January 18, 2014. They told us there was nothing they could do. Even though the account number, routing number, and email was provided through their website for the fraudulent return. We have filed a fraud report with the IRS and we were told 6-8 months for resolution. I have filed with the Attorney General, am in the process of hiring an attorney and have notified the local news stations. We to experienced a total lack of concern or assistance from Turbo Tax. They blew us off the from the very first phone call. I have found out that most of their representatives work from home and chat with supervisors through a chat room. Very frustrating!

  8. Burnadette

    I too was the victim of identity theft last year and didn’t get my refund until November. I beleve the only reason I got my refund at all is because I used the tax payer advocate service. Now this year it appears the same thing may be happening-wheresmyrefund? isn’t telling me anything. Well now I am going to stop having any taxes withheld from my paychecks and I will file a return that says “apparently I am the victim of identity theft- please allow 18 months for me to investigate. I apologize but no interest will be paid on this delayed payment and no information will be given to you about who did this either”

  9. Rachel Cole

    Same thing happened to me, i was filing my taxes through turbo tax and they were hacked into and the bank information changed, my return was sent to a prepaid card of someone else! thank God i caught it but now its hell trying to get it back..the IRS rep i talked to said hes talked to so many people who’ve used turbo tax and had their accounts hacked, he said its from someone inside turbo tax having access to everything…im looking into filing a suit against them

    • Angela Beasley

      Hello Rachel. Perhaps it could be an inside job at Turbo Tax. When I first found out about my identity theft and shared with others they too knew a lot of victims who used Turbo Tax when filing their returns. Thanks for sharing and good luck!

    • Scott

      I got my taxes back same story with Turbo Tax. I got chewed out by the IRS for giving the wrong bank info. Turbo tax said they have never heard anyone hacking there system and I need to be more careful. Now they have all my information they used my 2012 return and sent the money to a prepaid card. You can’t get ahold of the bank when you do a trace on the account number.

  10. Dave

    Thanks for the info and links related to this Turbo Tax identity hack and what I need to do.
    Seems I’m not the only one to have had this happen. As an FYI, I was able to talk with someone at Turbo Tax and initially I wanted to unload on them but knew that wouldn’t get any where so I just let them know that their software or employees are compromised and I would never use their program again. Seems that Professional Accounting services use a different software program which is who I had been using for over 30 years, but for some reason I thought it would be better for myself to file and save the fees that they had been charging me, guess lesson learned the hard way here. Anyway, the take away on this is that DON’T USE TURBO TAX, pay the fees if you are able to use a professional acct service and tell any one you care for about this bad program and not to use it.

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