Combating Tax Identity Theft: The IRS and the Taxpayer

Tax season, fraud, theft – oh my! 

Tax season is a notoriously stressful time. Between filling out the forms, paying taxes or waiting for refunds, the tax-filing process can seem endless.

What’s more concerning is that tax season is a holiday for identity thieves. Tax fraud and tax identity theft continue to be a significant problem for both the tax administration and American taxpayers alike. Whether it’s through data breaches, phishing emails, scams or simple social engineering tactics, criminals hope to obtain enough of your sensitive information so that they can fraudulently file your taxes before you do.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has made great strides to improve its fraud and identity theft detection methods. Last year, the IRS caught 787,000 confirmed tax identity theft returns from entering its systems. But, fraudsters continue to find ways around these protocols, warranting increased vigilance on both the tax industry and the individual taxpayer. In short, criminals want your tax returns just as much as you do – and they’ll do anything they can to get them. Continue reading

IRS Data Breach Impacted More Taxpayers Than Initially Thought

IRS Data Breach Fighting Identity Crimes

Update Feb 29, 2016: On February 26, the Internal Revenue Service released a statement disclosing the findings of their nine-month long investigation into the compromise of their “Get Transcript” web feature.

The investigation revealed that cybercriminals accessed historical tax return documents, which included a plethora of personally identifiable information, from 720,000 individuals. Continue reading

IRS Data Breach Exposes 100,000 Taxpayers

IRS

What happened?

On Tuesday, the Internal Revenue Service disclosed that more than 100,000 individuals had their historical tax returns exposed from February to mid-May.

The data breach occurred when thieves accessed previously filed tax returns using the IRS’ system “Get Transcript,” which was available on their website. “Get Transcript” provides taxpayers with their historical returns, which are typically required when applying for loans or college aid. Continue reading