This week, the IRS reported that the initial data breach on taxpayer data was much worse than initially stated… 3 times worse. Back in May, we reported that the breach had compromised 100,000 accounts, based on initial reports from the IRS. After conducting an extensive review covering the 2015 filing season, the IRS realized that the number of accounts that had been breached was actually more like 330,000. However, we are sure this number will rise in the coming months.
The cyber group that remains unnamed, attacked the IRS through the “Get Transcript” tool. This group then duped “Get Transcript” by using previously acquired stolen information and downloading millions of people’s tax documents. “Get Transcript” has since been disabled to prevent any more fraud.
How Do You Know If You Are A Victim?
The IRS will be sending letters to each taxpayer whose information has been breached that warns them of potential identity theft. It is very important that if you receive this letter, you contact your CPA or you follow the steps that the IRS recommends to protect you from future issues. This includes an extra PIN number to protect your future tax filings and free credit protection.
Are You Safe Now?
The answer unfortunately is no. Off of tax forms, these criminals had access to salary, family information, property and investment values. In addition to identity theft, these criminals are able to claim bogus tax refunds and are also able to open lines of credit in your name. Unfortunately it is becoming increasingly difficult to secure anyones information in the digital age.
Remember: The IRS will not call, email or send you letters for your personal information in response. Scammers and thieves see this as an open opportunity. These thieves will try emailing malicious links to alleged receipt of funds or calling taxpayers and posing as the IRS to receive funds. If you have a situation occur and you receive an email or a phone call from the IRS, contact your CPA. Your CPA will be able to tell you if it is a scam or not. Contact LBA Haynes Strand regarding a scam attempt – click here – and our team will get back to you ASAP!