As tax season approaches, millions of Americans are once again looking to tax preparation software and programs that make it as easy as possible to file their tax returns. While these popular programs are very efficient and effective tools when it comes to filing one's taxes, they do not come without their risks. Just last year, a class-action lawsuit was filed against Intuit, the maker of the tax prep software TurboTax, 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. The complaint states 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. 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. This tax season, there have already been reports from consumers that claim fake accounts were made in their names using their stolen social security numbers, and subsequently, fraudulent tax returns were filed in their names.
Currently, the attorneys of Rhine Law Firm are investigating claims on behalf of those individuals whose personal information has been compromised due to the fraudulent filing of a tax return in their name. If you believe your personal information has been compromised, whether you were a customer of TurboTax or not, contact the attorneys of Rhine Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.
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.
2015 TurboTax Class Action Lawsuit
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. The plaintiffs allege that 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 those 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.
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.
Contact TurboTax Class Action Lawyers
Cybercriminals accessed the accounts of thousands of TurboTax customers last year, stealing customers’ personal information, selling that information on the black market for profit, and also using it to file fraudulent tax returns. These same cybercriminals were able to file fraudulent tax returns in individuals’ names who either used TurboTax in past years, like Christine Diaz, or who never even used TurboTax, like Michelle Fugatt. These two situations are very alarming because even if consumers try to avoid tax prep software that is susceptible to identity thieves, the risk still cannot be completely avoided. These situations are definitely something that past customers and non-users of TurboTax should be looking out for, as hackers will no doubt try to duplicate the scam as they look to score big again this year.
The class-action lawyers of Rhine Law Firm are currently investigating the need for another possible TurboTax class-action 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 are a current customer of TurboTax, a past customer, or have never been a customer, contact the TurboTax class action attorneys of Rhine Law Firm today to discuss your legal options.