In yet another black eye for a federal agency that’s slow to heal, the IRS grossly underestimated the number of Americans whose information was compromised last year in a massive hack. Then the government’s tax collector disregarded a key recommendation for those unfortunately caught up in this mess.
According to an inspector general’s report, nearly 360,000 people had their accounts broken into, The Washington Times reported. The IRS initially identified about 220,000 participants in its Get Transcript system.
As its name implies, the system allows taxpayers to access their records over the Internet, which includes their most sensitive information. So, of course, this became a hot target for hackers.
Giving simple answers to apparently simply background questions, the hackers managed to impersonate literally hundreds of thousands of taxpayers, The Times reported.
Among recommendations, the IG said the IRS must alert everyone who was affected to be on the lookout for suspicious cyber activity and to provide credit monitoring to people who were targeted. But true to form, an IRS official said the accounts that hackers tried but presumably failed to access don’t need credit monitoring.
So, the blunt message to affected taxpayers: You’re on your own.
Whether the IRS is supposedly targeting certain groups for extra scrutiny — or otherwise shooting itself in the foot — its arrogance knows no bounds.
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