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Telephone phishing targets TurboTax users

Ash Nallawalla

4 September 2010

Phishing, Security

On Friday, September 3, Orange County PC User Group (ORCOPUG) member “L” took a phone call from a male who said he was from Intuit’s TurboTax. He asked if he had received an email from them concerning an error that affected 2008 and 2009 returns.

Allegedly, the errors produced an erroneous calculation for pensions, Medicare deductions, Social Security, etc. The caller offered to access L’s computer remotely and fix the problem. Yeah, right.

Being one of the more computer-literate people on the Left Coast, L politely declined the “kind” offer, so the caller said that L could call him back at (866) 888-4609 and arrange a better time.

Writes Linda Gonse, Editor of nibbles & bits,

This is a warning for everyone to be aware that this type of “social engineering” is part of a phishing scam to capture your private financial information.

  1. If there is a critical error in your tax program, you will receive a letter (if you registered your program), as well as read about it in the news.
  2. If there is something wrong with your tax return you can be certain that you will receive a letter from the IRS.

Moreover, companies do not have the resources to call hundreds of thousands or millions of customers, and they do not email customers about program glitches.

Be safe! Do not cooperate with anyone who calls you with a similar story to “phish” for YOUR personal data.

No legit software company would offer to access your computer and fix something. It’s simply not scalable and the lawyers would have kittens just thinking about it.

The phone number above seems to be a legit one that was used a couple of years in connection with TurboTax but a Google search now places it somewhere else. I don’t know why L was targeted but it is possible that the phisher trawled through online discussions or reviews to get a list of people who seemed to be using that product.

A timely warning from ORCOPUG and worth sharing with others who might be fooled.

Ash Nallawalla

Search strategist experienced in large, complex websites. Ash's Google+ profile

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