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BBB: Scammers Impersonating Legitimate Online Tax Preparation Companies

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- A tricky tax scam is targeting those of us who use online filing services.

Thieves are impersonating reputable online tax filing companies.

"People should really be concerned. Everything today comes out like a scam," said John Loniero of North Fayette.

One of the latest tax identity theft scams involve emails impersonating legitimate online tax preparation companies.

"Well, my mom's an accountant so she does my taxes, so thank God I don't have to worry about that," said Samantha McGeary of Pittsburgh.

If you always file using an online service, this is where it gets especially tricky.

"This one is difficult too because if you actually do use those services it could be possible if you receive an email reminding you to file your taxes," said Caitlin Driscoll of the Better Business Bureau.

According to the Better Business Bureau, Intuit's TurboTax is one example of a trustworthy company that's being impersonated by scammers.

"Phishing scams will go around impersonating these providers, urging people to file their taxes if they haven't already," said Driscoll.

The emails look legitimate, so you have to examine them closely.

"Hover over links in emails before clicking on them. Verify the link's true identity," said Driscoll.

Don't click them -- only use your mouse to hover over them.

"If where it's taking you isn't the actual website, it should always be a red flag even if it's a little bit off. Or a short link. That should be suspicious," said Driscoll.

Thieves want to direct you to a false site so they can steal your information and your refund.

According to Driscoll, "If they are asking you to click on a link to log in to your account, maybe to update your information, just go directly to the website by entering in the known web address for that website and log in through there."

Independent verification is key -- for this and every scam.

"Make sure they're reputable. Don't be afraid to ask about their data security policies, how they protect your information," said Driscoll.

Guard your personal information like your most prized possession and be certain they will too.

Another thing to look for is the tax preparer identification number. The IRS requires all paid tax preparers to have one before filing any returns.

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