ORLANDO, Fla. - Action 9 has a warning for families who might get a call from someone offering to help do their taxes.
One company is claiming
it has prepared your returns before and wants to again, but that huge tax firm was shut down by the state and accused of massive fraud.
Action 9's Todd Ulrich found out who is making those calls and why you need to be very careful.
Allen Davis got the message on his cellphone.
"I'm calling from the tax office you used last year," the call said in a voicemail.
And the caller wanted to schedule an appointment to prepare this year's tax return.
"Who did you think that was?" asked Ulrich.
"LBS Tax, the only place I've been (using) in Florida," said Davis.
Davis had used LBS Tax, the tax preparation chain that Action 9 had investigated since 2009 for hidden fees and hundreds of complaints.
The same firm was also raided by the Florida attorney general last summer in an ongoing fraud and racketeering investigation.
Davis claims he's in trouble with the IRS now because of LBS Tax misrepresentations on his return last year.
"They in fact lied on my
taxes and I had no idea of it," he said.
As it turns out, that appointment call came from an office in Eustis. It was an LBS Tax franchise office last year.
Now the company is called The Tax Giant.
Ulrich went there to ask if The Tax Giant had anything to do with LBS.
"How do you have LBS tax customer information?" asked Ulrich.
"I don't know about any tax information," the worker said.
"Now can you please leave?"
Later the Tax Giant's attorney told Action 9 there is no relationship between the two companies but would not comment on how the company obtained customer information.
Davis is worried if LBS shared his contact information, how much more did it give away?
"God knows that what they could do with it or what they will do with it," said Davis.
Action 9 found many former LBS locations are open with several different company
names and advertising big refunds. But many customers could end up paying way too much, too. (too much too? what?)
These (what companies?) companies target customers who have very simple returns, yet charge $600 or more when it should be less than $200 and could even be done for free.