Tag Archives: IRS

Connecticut Cyber Task Force Announced

The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of Connecticut has announced the creation of a Connecticut Cyber Task Force (“CCTF”) in partnership with the FBI, DEA, Secret Service, Homeland Security, IRS, Connecticut State Police, and 11 local police departments from throughout Connecticut as well as other federal authorities. The CCTF’s initial focus will be twofold: … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #110 – Resources for Small Businesses to Stay Informed about Cyber Threats

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has concentrated on small businesses this year with the launch of www.FTC.gov/SmallBusiness , which provides data security awareness information to small businesses. The  site includes articles about data security, how to develop a data security plan, what happens when ransomware affects your business, what to do in response to a … Continue Reading

Federal Tax Treatment of Employer-Provided Identity Protection Services

In the wake of several recent high-profile security breaches, employers are increasingly viewing identity theft protection as an essential employee benefit for employees. According to Willis Towers Watson’s 2016 voluntary benefits and services (VBS) survey, identity theft protection, offered by 35 percent of employers in 2015, could double to nearly 70 percent by 2018. Recognizing … Continue Reading

IRS to Notify 100,000 Taxpayers That Their Information May Have Been Obtained Through Misuse of FAFSA Retrieval Tool

On Thursday, Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) Commissioner John Koskinen testified that the personal data of up to a 100,000 taxpayers could have been compromised as a result of criminal use of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid Data Retrieval Tool (“DRT”). Last week, we posted that the IRS disabled the tool after it suspected … Continue Reading

IRS Files Petition to Enforce Summons Issued to Virtual Currency Company

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) obtained authorization from a California federal court last November to serve a John Doe summons on the virtual currency firm Coinbase in order to obtain customer information to determine whether customers were using virtual currency to avoid paying income taxes. Although the summons was issued in December, Coinbase has not … Continue Reading

2016 Was the Year of the Data Breach

Although every year we lament about the significance of data breaches in the past year, 2016 was by far the worst. Data breaches were rampant, victimizing every industry and numbing consumers in the process. It was so bad that consumers began to throw up their hands and say “My personal information is out there anyway. … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #66 – False IRS Phone Scams Defraud Victims of More than $50 Million

We have previously warned consumers about IRS phone scams that defraud consumers. Basically, the fraudsters call unsuspecting victims over the telephone impersonating an IRS official, and intimidate the recipient of the call to believe that they have an outstanding tax liability and telling them that if they don’t pay up, they will be arrested and … Continue Reading

Former IRS Employee Reports to Prison for Identity Theft and Fraud

Nakeisha Hall was sentenced in federal district court in August to serve nine years and two months in prison after she plead guilty for crimes she committed while working for the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service. Instead of advocating for taxpayers, she actually used taxpayers’ personal information to commit fraud and identity theft against them. Her … Continue Reading

I-9: Ways to avoid identity theft

Employers are increasingly being contacted by individuals, their insurance and payroll providers, the IRS and/or police about employees who are possibly involved in identity theft. If an employee steals a name and matching social security number and has a fraudulent identity document and social security card, this can be very difficult to detect. A strong … Continue Reading

IRS shuts down electronic filing PIN program

Last week, the IRS announced that the electronic filing personal identification number tool (e-file PIN), used by taxpayers to verify their signature on their tax filings, “is no longer available.” The IRS admitted in February 2016 that cyber criminals were attacking the system and had accessed more than 100,000 taxpayers PIN numbers. It did not … Continue Reading

IRS makes exempt organizations’ Form 990 data available in machine-readable format

On June 16, 2016, the IRS announced that it will be making Form 990s available in machine-readable format through Amazon Web Services. While this information has always been available to the public, it was previously only accessible in PDF format, making searching or viewing data in bulk nearly impossible. The IRS announcement is in response … Continue Reading

Government report critiques the IRS’s handling of 2015 data breach

According to a government report publicly released last week, the IRS failed to adequately respond to a May 2015 cyber-attack on its “Get Transcript” application that potentially compromised at least 621,000 taxpayer accounts. The United States Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (“TIGTA”) found that, while the IRS timely disabled the affected application, it failed … Continue Reading

Experian handling 70 breaches a week resulting from IRS phishing scam

On March 1, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service alerted the business community of an e-mail phishing scheme designed to convince employees to provide company-wide W-2 tax forms containing social security numbers and other personally identifiable information [view related post].  While the scam has taken different forms, the most prevalent approach is a purported internal e-mail … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #24 – IRS issues Alert to Payroll and HR Professionals about phishing scheme for W-2s

This week’s tip is for businesses, and in particular, the human resources, benefits and finance departments of all businesses. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in or where you or located. It doesn’t matter if you have 2 employees or 2,000. Just know that you can become the victim of a sophisticated cyber-attack. It … Continue Reading

Tax season may bring more breaches; new victim, TaxAct

This tax season, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been working closely with big tax preparation vendors and chains to improve the security this year and safeguard against widespread identity theft. The IRS is now requiring stricter password standards, a new timed lockout feature and limited unsuccessful log-in attempts, along with three security questions. The … Continue Reading
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