Friday, 11 March 2016 00:20

IRS Discontinues Electronic ID Security Tool for Taxpayers

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The United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has discontinued the use of an electronic identity protection tool designed to provide security for taxpayers' sensitive information because of security concerns. The Identity Protection PIN was meant to offer an extra layer of protection for taxpayers who are at high risk of being victimized by scammers through data breaches.

In 2015, the electronic tool was shut down following an enormous fraud operation that involve the use of stolen Social Security numbers and other sensitive data via commercial data breaches to get filing information for many hundreds of thousands of taxpayer. In 2016, the IRS faces a new outbreak of fraud as identity criminals use phishing to get information provided on W-2 tax forms.

A warning from the IRS was issued on March 1, 2016, telling human resources departments in the U.S. about the new phishing attack outbreak. A number of companies, including Snapchat and Seagate, have already been victimized by such attacks, which only emphasizes the need for protection that the IRS IP PIN program was supposed to provide.

A recent attack on the website of the IRS led to the breach of a contractor's system and exposed over 100,000 taxpayers' personal information prompted the agency's latest security review. The review revealed that the online tool permitting taxpayers to reset the IP PIN was not sufficiently secure to ensure that the user performing the reset was the legitimate owner of the accent.

Subsequently, the IRS strengthened the processes and filters in place for the current tax season, which has aided in finding potential ID thefts and stopping refund fraud.

Resources:

"IRS shuts down identity security tool for taxpayers due to security problems," Ars Technica

 

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