Mar 1, 2016
The IRS data breach last year, in which hackers used a system loophole to steal personal taxpayer information, is worse than initially believed, according to CBS News. A nine-month investigation has found that as many as 724,000 taxpayers had information like names, addresses and Social Security numbers stolen from the IRS’s systems. This figure is seven times larger than initial IRS estimates from last May, which said only 114,000 people were affected.
The IRS, in a statement, said it is “moving aggressively” to address the issue. Steps it plans to take include:
· Informing taxpayers whose transcripts were accessed that they can request an Identity Protection PIN by completing Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. An IP PIN provides an additional layer of protection for the taxpayer’s SSN on the federal tax return.
· Offering taxpayers whose returns were accessed a free Equifax identity theft protection product for one year.
· Placing extra scrutiny on tax returns with taxpayers SSNs.
“The IRS is committed to protecting taxpayers on multiple fronts against tax-related identity theft, and these mailings are part of that effort,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement. “We appreciate the work of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration to identify these additional taxpayers whose accounts may have been accessed. We are moving quickly to help these taxpayers.”
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