QuickBooks and TurboTax publisher warns of a torrent of fake email alerts: Internet Scambusters #694
Users of accounting software QuickBooks and tax preparation program TurboTax are being bombarded by scam emails.
The fake messages are intended to trick victims into clicking a link or attachment with the aim of stealing critical information.
We have the details for you this week, along with a link to a helpful video on how to avoid acting scams.
Let's get started...
QuickBooks Scam Emails by the Dozen!
In the course of just two weeks during February, software company Intuit reported the circulation of a dozen fake emails attempting to steal confidential information from users of its QuickBooks accounting program and tax preparation software, TurboTax.
It turns out that this is not unusual. It just happened to be a random sampling we took. A similar level of scam emails seems to be circulating at any one time.
It's easy to see why: Both QuickBooks and TurboTax handle masses of confidential information - both financial and personal -- that could be extremely dangerous in the hands of a crook.
Some examples of the subject lines seen in these bogus emails include:
- Your QuickBooks online account
- Your password has been disabled
- Payment Notification
- Dispute charges
- TurboTax Update
- Updated 1099-K Form
In all cases, the messages contain an attachment or link that recipients are supposed to click.
They also contain fairly convincing reasons for doing so. For instance, one of the TurboTax fake emails says: "We noticed a slight change in your Turbo information. Kindly confirm your details with the link below."
Obviously, being at the peak of the tax season as we are makes this a particularly dangerous time for related con tricks -- as we reported a couple of weeks ago in Is That ID Verification Letter Genuine or Another Tax Scam?
One of the spoof QuickBooks messages tells victims: "Intuit has released a critical update to your QuickBooks Online Accounts, which includes enhanced sign-on security features to protect your account information...
"Please follow the steps below as soon as possible to ensure uninterrupted service for all of your QuickBooks features. This helps keep your account safe."
Who wouldn't want these enhanced features? But it's all a lie, and anyone who follows these invitations to click on the included link will find themselves in trouble as they arrive at a bogus Intuit page where they're asked to sign-on, thereby giving the crooks full access to their Intuit accounts and, most likely, bank and IRS accounts.
These spoof emails are usually sent out at random. That is, the crooks spam them to large numbers of people knowing that some will arrived in the inboxes of genuine users.
To the unwary, though, it looks like the message must be genuine since it seems to them that the sender knew they were a user.
So here's what you need to know. Intuit says it NEVER:
- Sends an email with a supposed "software update" or "software download" attachment.
- Sends an email asking the recipient to send sign-in or password details.
- Asks for bank or credit card details in an email message.
- Asks business users for confidential information about employees in an email.
The company does, obviously, update its software from time to time and may send out instructions about this.
But the best way to avoid a scam is probably to launch the relevant program on your PC, which then will check for updates.
Intuit also uses a second level of security on these pages by sending a code to an email address or cellphone number that you've previously provided.
And if you do receive one of these bogus messages, the firm asks you to forward it immediately to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's also worthwhile keeping an eye on the ongoing list of Intuit scam emails that we mentioned at the outset.
You'll see scores, if not hundreds, of phony messages there with their subject lines!
Actually, Intuit already has multiple advanced security features in place to protect users.
There are also links there to many more useful pages about scams and online security issues.
Bearing all of this and the points we've raised in mind and using reliable, up-to-date Internet security software, this should keep you safe from these QuickBooks and TurboTax scammers.
Alert of the Week
Are you star-struck? Stage-struck? Burning with ambition to make your name as an actor?
Then you're a prime target for scammers offering dubious auditions, charging agent fees and using all manner of con tricks to take your money or get you into trouble.
If you have two minutes to spare, you might save yourself a lot of pain by watching this video about acting scams from New York acting coach Denise Simon.
Time to conclude for today -- have a great week!