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February 20, 2013

Sheriff’s office issues tax fraud scam alert

MILLEDGEVILLE — The growing popularity of tax preparation software has led to a rise in email scams targeted at do-it-yourself income tax filers, and at least one is circulating the local area. 

In addition opening access to personal financial information, some emails contain fake web links that could download viruses. 

According to an alert from the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office, an email with the subject “Turbo Tax: State Return Rejected” is circulating in Baldwin County. 

“It’s a fake TurboTax email that tries to scare you into thinking that your state return has been rejected,” said Capt. Brad King of the sheriff’s department. 

The email looks legitimate but the attachment likely contains a virus. 

The email the Milledgeville resident who contacted local law enforcement received came from IntuitElectronicFilingCenter@intuit.com. After further analysis, it was discovered that the resident used TurboTax to file income taxes. Although no personal information was sent out, the resident’s computer was victim to the scam and was hit with a virus. 

The victim reported the incident to law enforcement. 

According to the sheriff’s office, once the attached link is opened residents’ computers are susceptible to the virus. 

To avoid falling prey to any email tax scam, the Internal Revenue Service offers helpful tips: 

• Never reply to unsolicited emails and do not open the attachments. 

• Do not respond to any emails that request your password, log in information, or any financial information.  

• If you receive an email that claims to offer a software update to the tax service that has already been downloaded, do not accept it. Updates for software are done through the program itself, not by email requests. 

• Forward suspicious emails to the tax software provider’s security center. If an email comes claiming it is from the IRS, it should send up an immediate red flag. As a general rule, the IRS does not send unsolicited emails to discuss any tax account information. 

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