Unfortunately, data breaches that release personal information about consumers are getting to be common news.
According to the I.R.S., the scheme netted thieves nearly $50 million in refunds before the I.R.S. detected it. That’s $50 million dollars that came from hard-working families in the United States. While $50 million dollars of waste is sickening, the sad truth that amount is a drop in the bucket. According to the I.R.S., they paid out a staggering $5.8 BILLION in false tax refund claims in 2013 alone.
This hack was different than most. The thieves already had the tax payer’s personal information to pass the authentication process the I.R.S. uses. This personal information included names, social security numbers, date of birth and addresses. With all this information, what more could the thieves want? While this question is under investigation, a theory is that the thieves wanted to gain access to more consumers’ personal information for future use. As an example, if a thief accessed my personal tax returns they would have gained access to my wife’s and two dependent children’s social security numbers.
Each and every one of these hacks should be a wakeup call to consumers. While it may be impossible to 100% ensure you never become a victim of Identity Theft, you can be protective of your personal data. Thieves are very creative on how they gain access to your identity to be very protective of who you deal with. Be extra careful when someone is calling or emailing solicitation offers. Often thieves contact consumers directly disguising themselves as legitimate businesses. The more steps you take to safeguard your personal information, the less chance you have of becoming the next victim.