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Thread: The IRS Mistakenly Exposed Thousands of Social Security Numbers

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    The IRS Mistakenly Exposed Thousands of Social Security Numbers

    Another day, another slipup by the Internal Revenue Service.

    The incident involves the unwitting exposure of "tens of thousands" of Social Security numbers, according to a recent audit by the independent transparency and public-domain group Public.Resource.org. The identifying numbers were on the Internet for less than 24 hours after being discovered, but the damage was done. And unfortunately, the data-breach concerns some of the most sensitive types of transactions: Those made by nonprofit political groups known as 527s.

    Every so often, 527s have to file tax forms to the IRS, which then get added to a database. The database itself is hardly a secret; the IRS has been sending updated records routinely to Public.Resource.org and other public-interest groups, and it's a favorite among political reporters. But when the IRS told the group's founder, Carl Malamud, to disregard the Form 990-Ts included in the agency's January release, he took a closer look at the files in question.

    After analyzing the breach, Malamud wrote a letter to the IRS pointing out 10 instances where a social security number was accidentally revealed on the government's website—just a small sample of the larger breach.

    Just the day before, Malamud had filed another letter to the agency describing a problem with the 990-Ts. Of over 3,000 tax returns contained in the January update, 319 contained sensitive data the agency should have scrubbed, Malamud wrote in the July 1 report that he filed to the inspector general's office. In that mixup, some 2,319 social security numbers—perhaps more—were revealed.
    http://www.nationaljournal.com/tech/...mbers-20130708


    does the incompetence never end with the IRS? are we are going to trust them with Obama Care enforcement?

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    Re: The IRS Mistakenly Exposed Thousands of Social Security Numbers

    2,319 social security numbers—perhaps more—were revealed.

    Not that big of a number but the fact that the IRS leaked them is some what embarrassing for them and funny to us. IRS

    Chances are mine are not one of them, and same goes to all of you.
    You can refine anything in it's pure form to use for good or evil. This goes for everything, not just materials.

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    Re: The IRS Mistakenly Exposed Thousands of Social Security Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by trfjr View Post
    The IRS Mistakenly Exposed Thousands of Social Security Numbers - NationalJournal.com


    does the incompetence never end with the IRS? are we are going to trust them with Obama Care enforcement?
    It is bad, but considering how many people who have no business seeing your SS number are exposed to it I do not see this as being a huge problem in the realm of identity theft. Don't get me wrong, it is great to clean this up and get rid of the idiots who let it happen, but really your social security number is probably wide open in a number of areas where it should never be displayed.

    Places where your social security number may be displayed to people with no security:

    1. Utility companies
    2. Cable companies
    3. Any office where you have filled out an application for employment.
    4. Places where you have filled out an application for credit.

    There are probably more. In these places i have listed your SS number is transcribed into a database, or filed in some drawer where other employees of that company will be able to gain access. In many of these cases your number will be displayed to any customer service rep who brings up your information stored in the database. The reality is it would be quite easy to store the information without displaying to anyone who views your account, but most of these places do not do that. There is no security keeping notes, data storage devices, or even personal computing devices from being taken in and out of the office. Hell, we just found out our own government allowed Bradley Manning to access sensitive and top secret information while also being able to pass in and out of security with personal data storage devices. There was no security within the system to prevent him from doing what he did, even though there were ways to enact security to do so.

    I am not trying to tell you not to be bothered as the IRS should be much more secure in regards to this. however, people do need to start waking up to much bigger problems about the openness of social security numbers and how many places there are which some low wage, or high wage, jerk with no security is given the ability to see that information. In other words, do not stop with the IRS if you are concerned with this.

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    Re: The IRS Mistakenly Exposed Thousands of Social Security Numbers

    It has always kinda amazed me how worked up about SSN's people get. They are everywhere, to the list below you can add hospitals, BMV, military and on and on and on. Whenever you file a police report the SSN is included so dont crash or report your neighbor dog barking. When I was in the service your ssn was on everything including your laundry. Maybe it is a bigger deal than I think.
    Quote Originally Posted by tererun View Post
    It is bad, but considering how many people who have no business seeing your SS number are exposed to it I do not see this as being a huge problem in the realm of identity theft. Don't get me wrong, it is great to clean this up and get rid of the idiots who let it happen, but really your social security number is probably wide open in a number of areas where it should never be displayed.

    Places where your social security number may be displayed to people with no security:

    1. Utility companies
    2. Cable companies
    3. Any office where you have filled out an application for employment.
    4. Places where you have filled out an application for credit.

    There are probably more. In these places i have listed your SS number is transcribed into a database, or filed in some drawer where other employees of that company will be able to gain access. In many of these cases your number will be displayed to any customer service rep who brings up your information stored in the database. The reality is it would be quite easy to store the information without displaying to anyone who views your account, but most of these places do not do that. There is no security keeping notes, data storage devices, or even personal computing devices from being taken in and out of the office. Hell, we just found out our own government allowed Bradley Manning to access sensitive and top secret information while also being able to pass in and out of security with personal data storage devices. There was no security within the system to prevent him from doing what he did, even though there were ways to enact security to do so.

    I am not trying to tell you not to be bothered as the IRS should be much more secure in regards to this. however, people do need to start waking up to much bigger problems about the openness of social security numbers and how many places there are which some low wage, or high wage, jerk with no security is given the ability to see that information. In other words, do not stop with the IRS if you are concerned with this.
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    Re: The IRS Mistakenly Exposed Thousands of Social Security Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by mak2 View Post
    It has always kinda amazed me how worked up about SSN's people get. They are everywhere, to the list below you can add hospitals, BMV, military and on and on and on. Whenever you file a police report the SSN is included so dont crash or report your neighbor dog barking. When I was in the service your ssn was on everything including your laundry. Maybe it is a bigger deal than I think.
    It became a bigger deal when people started using them to steal people's identity - it doesn't take much (apparently) for criminals to use it for racking up debt - which then you have to sort out for the rest of your life. . and of course, at one point in our history your personal credit history was considered to be none of your business, and instead something to keep from you. When that changed - people saw crap on their credit reports that were from other people.

    A lot of people weren't victims of identity theft - but were victims of ignorant organizations and businesses that made mistakes and falsely assigned things to their credit history from other people.

    SSN's alone (just the numbers) are meaningless (or should I say useless) - because they're assigned methodically. You could sit down and write up a list of SSN's based on how they're assigned (state / county / etc). What a criminal needs is personal details (a name, where you live, maybe a few other tidbits) for it to be used easily. I'm not sure how little is needed - but the number is just one component.
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    Re: The IRS Mistakenly Exposed Thousands of Social Security Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by The General View Post
    2,319 social security numbers—perhaps more—were revealed.

    Not that big of a number but the fact that the IRS leaked them is some what embarrassing for them and funny to us. IRS

    Chances are mine are not one of them, and same goes to all of you.
    Well, I feel so much better now that I know that YOU are not concerned.

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    Re: The IRS Mistakenly Exposed Thousands of Social Security Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by mak2 View Post
    It has always kinda amazed me how worked up about SSN's people get. They are everywhere, to the list below you can add hospitals, BMV, military and on and on and on. Whenever you file a police report the SSN is included so dont crash or report your neighbor dog barking. When I was in the service your ssn was on everything including your laundry. Maybe it is a bigger deal than I think.
    People should be worried about it. With that information it is pretty easy to take out credit and loans in your name. Considering credit companies love to give out credit without ever checking out things in person, it is actually pretty convenient for the crooks and the credit companies. It is also becomes easy for them to identify themselves to your bank and creditors and take control of your accounts. Think about it, if you call up the bank how do they verify it is you? Your social security number and some questions about your address. They might ask some personal questions that a criminal would have to do a simple search to look up some personal details like your mom's maiden name. In some of these casdes the information may be right there in your information.

    Fixing these problems is not so easy as just calling up and proving you are who you say you are. It can take years of challenges, and the help of lawyers to fix these things. It isn't even your mistake either. It should be the credit companies problem considering they were the ones who made crappy loans without guaranteeing they were talking to the right people. If I gave some guy a loan in your name and then came after you for the money because I did not check his ID you and the courts would laugh at me. Credit companies and banks come after you because in some cases it becomes easier and cheaper for the victim to simply pay. Some victims have had it so bad they need to get a whole new social security number which becomes awesome when legitimate people start to distrust you because your SS number and background checks look off because you were a victim. They do not assume you are a victim, they assume you are a criminal and your applications get tossed.

    You know what is even worse. I have known this for a while now, and because of it I have decided to keep my credit score low. I have family with some funds so it is not terribly necessary for me to have great credit. So I actually ran up a card or two and simply never paid them off. Sure enough I could not get credit in my own name. last year some person got credit in my name when i cannot do it. The criminal is of course a scumbag, but the credit card companies are some rat bastards working with the criminals at this point considering they could be fixing this problem, but they do not because they either collect from the victims, sell the bad debt off to be packaged as AAA rated investments by S&P or moodies, or get bailed out by the US government.

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    Re: The IRS Mistakenly Exposed Thousands of Social Security Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by AliHajiSheik View Post
    Well, I feel so much better now that I know that YOU are not concerned.
    Heh. I share your relief. Always remember that you are statistically insignificant.

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    Re: The IRS Mistakenly Exposed Thousands of Social Security Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by humbolt View Post
    Heh. I share your relief. Always remember that you are statistically insignificant.
    Not in MY context.

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    Re: The IRS Mistakenly Exposed Thousands of Social Security Numbers

    Quote Originally Posted by AliHajiSheik View Post
    Not in MY context.
    No. Whatever anomaly occurs, however statistically insignificant it might be, it's always 100% when it happens to you. I agree.

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