Criminals Use IRS Website to Steal Personal Data

Well, this certainly does not instil confidence that the IRS will handle FATCA data safely.

Criminals use IRS website to steal data on 104,000 people.

Yesterday, CNN reported:

A “sophisticated” organized crime syndicate used the IRS website to steal tax forms full of personal financial information on 104,000 taxpayers, the agency said Tuesday.

IRS TheftThe crooks weren’t as successful as they wanted to be. They only got about half of the 200,000 accounts they targeted. They used about 15,000 of them to claim tax refunds in other people’s names.

But the potential damage is worse. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said he believes the criminals’ true mission was to gather vast amounts of personal information. Armed with that info, fraudsters can open bank accounts, credit lines and steal tax refunds in the future.

“This is just the latest manifestation of people getting enough data to masquerade as a taxpayer,” Koskinen said.

Now today CNN reports IRS believes the massive data theft originated in Russia.

This is exactly what we have been setting off alarm bells about. Why won’t Finance Canada or governments around the world listen?!? These thefts are with far less information than what will be provided with FATCA.

FBI is investigating.

“Congress must act,” says Senator Orrin Hatch. so, Congress will review how data was stolen. (but not till next week).

Here’s a better solution. Hire Edward Snowden to investigate. He’s hanging out in Russia now. Snowden cares far more about protecting private information than the IRS, US Treasury, US government or any other government around the world.

And what happens when the next data theft comes from Yemen, Syria or Iraq?

17 thoughts on “Criminals Use IRS Website to Steal Personal Data

  1. Lynne Swanson Post author

    Attack Gave Chinese Hackers Privileged Access to U.S. Systems in the New York Times reports on the failure of the U.S. government to protect financial, medical and employment records of one million American government workers.

    These were personnel records that were breached–not IRS–but the government was warned and did little to prevent it from happening.

    One senior administration official said:

    “This was classic espionage, just on a scale we’ve never seen before from a traditional adversary. And it’s not a satisfactory answer to say, ‘We found it and stopped it,’ when we should have seen it coming years ago.”

    And no one knows what the hackers plans are for the information:

    “They are casting a very wide net,” John Hultquist, a senior manager of cyberespionage threat intelligence at iSight Partners, said of the hackers targeting of Americans’ personal data. “We’re in a new space here and we don’t entirely know what they’re trying to do with it.”

    Pretty frightening–especially considering that Finance Canada tells us they trust the Americans with the sensitive private information of Canadians.

    Reply
  2. Lynne Swanson Post author

    While American, Canadian, Australian and other governments pass laws to snoop into our private lives under the guise of stopping terrorism, FATCA has the potential to place anyone born in the U.S. in harm`s way.

    Between IRS and ISIS shows how the recent data breach could have consequences beyond financial. This was written with Lebanon in mind, but it could be a risk in many other countries.

    Reply
  3. Lynne Swanson Post author

    Can’t the Yanks manage any data?!?

    Now personnel records of four million federal workers have been breached.

    This time the U.S. is blaming the Chinese. Chinese hackers breach federal government personnel office

    Last week it was the Russians they were blaming. This week it’s the Chinese. Where is American responsibility?!?

    FATCA will be an absolute treasure trove for crooks and terrorists.

    Reply
    1. Lynne Swanson Post author

      It based its decision on privacy concerns.

      Yep. That sounds like the IRS.  Protect the privacy of the fraudster crooks but FATCA people who live a world away and may not even be U.S. citizens!

      Even more alarming is that a U.S. court agreed with the IRS!

      The court in the case of Kathleen Stegman ruled that the IRS could keep from the taxpayer the return filed by someone who had misappropriated and used her identifying information.

      They are insane in the U.S.

  4. Lynne Swansoni Post author

    2.7 million taxpayers had identities stolen last year says IRS.

    The IRS Commissioner said:

    “Tax refund fraud exploded between 2010 and 2012.”

    IRS paid identity thieves $5.6 Billion in 2011 alone. FATCA is expected to raise $800 million a year. Could they be looking in all the wrong places?

    But don’t worry. IRS assured Congress they will fix the security problems by 2016. Yeah right.

    And of course, the first FATCA data will be reported this year. This is alarming. If they can’t handle routine tax information safely, how in the world will they deal with far nore sensitive information?!?

    Reply
    1. Lynne Swanson Post author

      Ooops. That was my error.  I knew it was Billion. One little letter.  Huge difference. I will correct.

      Thanks Duke for catching that and poInting it out.

  5. OutragedCanadian

    doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, does it? Not that I had any before this. I agree, they’re targeting the wrong people, the wrong issue. They need to concentrate on cleaning up their own act within their own borders. Stop the never ending data breaches, stop the govt officials from tax evasion, stop giving kajillion dollar companies so many tax breaks that they actually get refunds on their taxes.
    But, it’s much, much easier to go after the little folk around the world who don’t have any representation or any support from their governments.

    Reply
  6. EmBee

    “IRS believes the massive data theft originated in Russia.” Sounds like another case of Blame Russia and in the words of Rahm Emmanuel, “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.” The current agenda is to poke, poke, poke the Russian Bear so even a criminal data theft can be used to demonize the country they currently have in their war mongering sights. The real culprit here is the IRS who left the door open for the data thief and Koskinen will probably have the gall to say if they had more money they would be able to afford a better but undoubtedly very expensive door closer.

    Reply
  7. Lynne Swanson Post author

    Now Washington Times reports IRS bilked for billions in bogus refunds.

    in 2012, IRS paid out $2.1 billion in bogus refunds. Hmmm. Isn’t FATCA only supposed to raise $800 million per year? Could IRS be looking in all the wrong places?

    “Identity theft continues to be a serious and evolving issue,” the inspector general said.

    How can governments around the world even think of handing over far more complex and sensitive information to them?!?

    Reply
  8. Lynne Swanson Post author

    IRS Data Breach May Be Sign of More Personalized Schemes says New York Times.

    “This breach is not just about what this single group is going to do with the information, but what happens when this information gets sold on the black market,” said Peter Warren Singer, the author of “Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know.” “It’s rare for the actual attackers to turn the information directly into money. They’re stealing the data and selling it off to other people.”

    But hey it’s happening everywhere, so don’t blame the IRS! And gee whiz their own funds and staff have been slashed, so we should expect all of this say the experts.

    Again, I think they should hire Snowden to investigate. He has the skills, abilities and knowledge.

    Most importantly, Snowden has a rather old-fashioned belief: Privacy Matters.

    Reply

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