As you are all probably aware, a major IRS scandal was announced recently–tax information for 104,000 files was stolen by hackers who had targeted 200,000 people.
The hackers accessed data using information they obtained from social media sites such as Facebook to obtain information to answer the security questions to obtain online transcripts.
36,000 fraudulent returns were sent in, and 13,000 of them got past the IRS fraud detection system. It is estimated that $39 million in false refunds were issued.
New measures being taken by the IRS include suspension of the transcript retrieval service, notifying the 200,000 that their personal information has been stolen and strengthening the security questions. The IRS is also paying for fraud protection for the 104,000 people whose tax data was used to file a fraudulent return and will also provide them with copies of the fake returns filed under their social security number.
What can you do to help protect yourself? Do not post any information anywhere online that can be used to identify you, do not respond to fake emails from the IRS (they do not send emails to obtain information), never give out your social security number to anyone (even doctor offices do not need this) and, most of all, use common sense–if it feels or seems wrong, it probably is!