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 seconds 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:
- 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??
- Are we going to earn interest on this lost money that we are due if we even get it back at all?
- Did Turbo Tax have a severe breach of security or were they severely hacked and are somehow keeping it all under wraps?
- 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?
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