IRS Falls Victim to Data Theft – May 2015
The IRS falls victim to data theft when 104,000 house-hold tax returns from previous years was compromised. The data thieves accessed the data through a weakness in a tool called “Get Transcript” embedded on the IRS online web system. After the IRS became aware of the data breach they quickly took the tool offline and announced the incident on Tuesday, May 26th. They have also noted that some of the information has indeed been used to file fraudulent tax returns.
Just today, CNN reported that investigators have been led to believe that the IRS data breach originated in Russia. According to this source of the 200,000 returns that were attempted to be illegitimately accessed 104,000 were successful and 15,000 of those were used for fraudulent claims.
How do you know if you were affected by the IRS data breach in 2015?
According an agency press release, they will be in contact with all the individuals whose information was stolen. Contact will be in the form of mailed letters notifying the household of the breach along with information to access a complimentary credit monitoring service.
The agency is working diligently to detect and prevent fraudulent returns and identity theft with notifications in mail and on their website. These security breaches and phishing scams have plagued the government agency for years and come in all shapes and sizes. One approach the IRS is currently taking is the implementation of a PIN Program. This would require all taxpayers to utilize a 6-digit password instead on just their Social Security Number when filing taxes.
Data security breaches impact a wide spectrum of industries in this digital age and taking necessary precautions for monitoring, prevention and breach notification is very important. Visit the IRS website for trending scams and a list of suspicious behavior or account activity should be taken as a red flag.
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