Tax season is a great opportunity for thieves to steal your information and money. They have plenty of ways to do it, from posing as IRS agents on the phone or by email to using information they've already stolen to file a fake tax return in your name and get a refund. Tune in to the radio show this weekend where we'll cover those topics and how to defend yourself.
Trying to keep your information safe when you have total control is hard enough, but it's worse when hackers take your information from third parties. That's what appears to have happened with a popular tax software company.
That company is TaxAct. It has revealed that between Nov. 10, 2015, and Dec. 4 2015, it noticed suspicious activity in 0.25% of its customer accounts. It doesn't give an actual number of accounts affected.
Whoever accessed the accounts viewed stored tax returns, which would give them access to a user's "Social Security numbers, addressed [sic], names, driver's license numbers and bank account information." With that information, an identity thief could easily steal someone's identity or file a tax return in their name.
According to TaxAct, the accounts were accessed with customer usernames and passwords stolen elsewhere. It sounds at this time like its systems weren't breached. However, it is offering affected customers free credit monitoring for a year with "a $1 million insurance reimbursement policy and access to ID protection experts."
If your account was affected, you should be receiving notification.
Naturally, scammers are going to take advantage of this situation. If you receive and email allegedly from TaxAct asking you to download a file or click a link, it's probably a fake trying to infect your computer with a virus. Learn how to spot a fake, malicious email.