I am always saying that you are only as safe as the companies and agencies with the worst security that hold you personal information. When it comes to sensitive personal information that can be used to make you a victim of identity theft, the IRS is a treasure trove for hackers and the IRS has suffered preventable data breaches in the past. Now a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the IRS continues to lag behind in tightening security of their data. In its recent report, the GAO indicated that while the IRS had responded positively to 47 recommendations to enhance security made previously by the GAO, the IRS had failed to implement 127 other GAO recommendations for increased data security with 107 of those recommendations being more than a year old.
According to the report, “These new and continuing information system security control deficiencies, which collectively represent a significant deficiency, increase the risk that IRS’s financial reporting and taxpayer data will remain unnecessarily vulnerable to inappropriate and undetected use, modification or disclosure.”
Usually, this is where I tell you what you can do about the problem I describe in the Scam of the day. Unfortunately, there is little we as citizens and taxpayers can do to protect ourselves from the lax security standards and practices of the IRS other than to protect yourself from becoming a victim of income tax identity theft by filing your income tax return as early as possible in order to get it to the IRS before an identity thief has the opportunity to do so. You may wish to contact your senator and congressman and ask them to compel the IRS to meet the GAO recommendations in regard to implementing better security.
If you do become a victim of income tax identity theft, you should file a Form 14039 electronically. You can obtain the form at the FTC’s www.Identitytheft.gov website where you will be asked questions necessary to automatically complete the form. Once the form is completed, you will be able to review it and, if it meets with your approval, submit the form directly to the IRS through the www.Identitytheft.gov website. You should also download and print out a copy of the form for your own records as well. You should receive a confirmation from the IRS of receipt of the form within thirty days. You also should file a police report immediately
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