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$1.6 Billion MegaMillion Pot Equals Amount Identity Thieves Stole From IRS

Mega Millions

Some lucky person won the same amount of money that a slew of cyber criminals stole from the IRS.

So, the question is, who needs to pray for good luck when you can steal from the IRS? That must be how cybercriminals think. They actually tried to get away with $12 billion from the IRS coffers, but, fortunately the Government agency foiled a lot of their attempts. You have to admit though that $1.6B is not a bad payday.

Millions Of Daily Attempts To Steal

Edward Killen, the agency’s chief privacy officer told the Washington Post that, “Our systems currently withstand an average of 2.5 million intrusion attempts daily.”

Keeping the thieves out is a tough job no matter how you look at it! I have to applaud the efforts. Killen also reported that, “From 2015 to 2017, the number of taxpayers reporting to the IRS that they were victims of identity theft dropped by 65 percent, and the number of tax returns with confirmed identity theft fell by 57 percent with more than $20 billion in taxpayer refunds being protected.”

While the IRS is proud of their efforts at foiling many thieves’ attempts, the same Washington Post article has, “found that IRS has not prioritized the initiatives supporting its authentication strategy nor identified the resources required to complete them.”

Breaches Made With Info Found Through Social Media And Other Avenues

The criminals are not going to the IRS to get information needed to steal identities. They are getting the info they need from a variety of sources outside of the IRS. We’ve been reading about it for years. There have been warnings issued by the IRS to protect your information and to be careful about what you post on social media. There have been a multitude of corporate breaches including 500 million Yahoo customers whose information was compromised, 145 million Equifax customers and 21.5 million with Office of Personnel Management files whose personally identifiable information, such as birth dates and Social Security numbers, might have been breached in cyberattacks.

The Washington Post article included 3 examples of criminals who have be snared for stealing from the IRS. Here they are:

•Thirty-three people pleaded guilty to claiming $22 million through fraudulent tax returns using “other individuals’ personal identification information — obtained in part from patients and employees of the Battle Creek Veterans Affairs Medical Center and from inmates of the Michigan Department of Corrections,” according to a January 2017 news release from the U.S. attorney’s office in Grand Rapids, Mich.

•Anthony and Sonia Alika were sentenced in 2016 for their roles in a fraud involving “cyber intrusions, identity theft, phony tax returns and money laundering, all to the order of millions of dollars,” according to the Justice Department office in Atlanta. Anthony Alika and Rapheal Atebefia also used the names and Social Security numbers of others to access the IRS’s “Get Transcript” database to file phony tax returns.

•Abdulrahman Tijani, along with others in another Get Transcript case, filed 47 bogus tax returns, seeking $265,960 in refunds, during a seven-week period in 2015 using stolen personally identifiable information, according to department officials in Atlanta. The IRS suspected 35 were potentially fraudulent. The department’s criminal complaint linked the scheme to the Get Transcript scam that McKenney mentioned. Tijani, 41, of Lawrenceville, Ga., was ordered in August to pay $50,221 in restitution and sentenced to four years in prison. After that, he’ll probably be deported.

The Moral Of The Story

What we all have to learn from this is to protect our personal information and maybe play the lottery more often! When you get right down to it, your happiness is not dependent on having mega millions of dollars. You’ll be much happier staying out of trouble with the IRS. If you are in any IRS trouble, give us a call.

Taxation Solutions, Inc.

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