Turbo Tax Error

April 9, 2007



A Nebraska woman recently discovered a shocking flaw with a website thousands of people use to prepare their taxes. Instead of taking advantage of this potential gold mine for identity thieves, she is calling attention to it to protect other taxpayers.

In her laptop, Jennifer discovered a key to the backdoor of some tax returns filed on line through Turbo Tax.

A Turbo Tax customer herself, Jennifer attempted to access some past filings and the route she took online opened returns for several others with the same last name, but different first initials.

For security reasons we're not revealing the common last name or how Jennifer inadvertently gained access to three other Turbo Tax accounts.

She was able to access tax returns for three Turbo Tax customers she never met in different parts of the country.

There on her screen, everything needed for electronic filing from bank account to routing digits and of course social security numbers.

An Omaha based official with the Turbo Tax parent company says the inadvertent access to some tax files came as a shock.

"We think it was a quirk, an individual circumstance as far as we know. So what we did is we took that link down in the product for now until we can fully investigate to make sure the issue won't happen again to anybody else," says Gordon Whitten.

Jennifer wouldn't want an internet stranger peeking into her tax filings so she'll delete any information that opened the back door to others with the same last name.

This does not involve the Turbo Tax software, only the website that allows taxpayers to create an account and do their taxes there.

Company officials say the inadvertent window of opportunity for potential thieves has been closed. Turbo Tax has not received any reports of customer accounts being accessed by identity thieves, and says it is grateful the Nebraska customer brought it to the company's attention.

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