Friday December 6, 2019
Home World Tax informati...

Tax information of more than 100,000 US citizens stolen via “Get Transcript” service of IRS

0
//

tax-evasion-226715_640

Washington: A group of hackers stole confidential data on more than 100,000 US taxpayers over the past four months, the commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen, reported.

At a Tuesday press conference, Koskinen said that the hackers accessed tax returns containing a large amount of personal data via the IRS “Get Transcript” service between February and May.

“Get Transcript” is a way to download several years of tax forms when a taxpayer would like to apply for a mortgage or educational financial aid, for instance.

Of the 200,000 attempts by the cybercriminal group to download individuals’ tax data between February and May, about half were successful, but – although an investigation is under way – US authorities still do not know who could have carried out the hack attack.

The IRS chief said the agency is sure that the hackers were not novices. “We’re dealing with criminals with a lot of money and using expensive equipment and hiring a lot of smart people,” he said.

Koskinen said that the aim of the info-pirates was to use personal data they had already stolen from taxpayers to request fraudulent tax refunds in their names, and about 15,000 such refunds were issued.

The IRS will send letters to the 200,000 people potentially affected by the data theft starting this week to inform them of the problem.

According to the agency, the hackers already had acquired – possibly through the social networks – private information, including names, addresses, social security numbers and certain other personal details, on citizens whose tax data they then attempted to steal.

The IRS has temporarily disabled the “Get Transcript” service. Over the past few months, Americans used it to download 23 million transcripts, the agency said, but – for the moment – those requests will have to be filled by sending out paper copies of past tax returns.

Next Story

Google, YouTube Pull Over More Than 300 Trump Ads as US Prez Poll Nears

The main formats Google offers political advertisers are Search ads, YouTube ads and display ads. Under the new rules, political advertisers may target their ads only down to the postal code level

0
google, online tracking
A man walks past a Google sign outside with a span of the Bay Bridge at rear in San Francisco, May 1, 2019. VOA

More than 300 Donald Trump ads have been pulled by Google and its video-sharing platform YouTube for violating the companies’ policies. The campaign videos, notably, ran over the summer.

This comes at a time when handling political advertisements on social media has become a growing concern as the 2020 US presidential election approaches and tech giants are under fire over political ads.

Twitter has even decided to ban all kinds of political ads on its platform.

Over 300 video ads for President Trump were taken down, mostly over the summer, for violating the company policy. Compared to the TV, online ads can spread lies at an alarming rate — bolstered by machine-learning algorithms that can identify target audiences at enormous speed and scale, CBS News reported on Monday.

According to CBS News, even though the ads were taken down, the archive does not detail what policy was violated.

It was not clear if it was a copyright violation, a lie or extreme inaccuracy.

youtube, virtual makeup
FILE – Silhouettes are seen in front of a Youtube logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica, Oct. 29, 2014. VOA

The ads determined to be offending are not available to be screened. We found very little transparency in the transparency report, the report added.

It is pertinent to note that political ads on social media do not adhere to different rules than political ads on TV.

The political ads on social media fall under specific scrutiny because of their unique ability to disseminate bad information and their inability to properly tackle them.

Also Read: Huawei GT-2 Smartwatch Soon to be Launched in India

Meanwhile, earlier in November, Google announced new limits on political advertisers globally from micro-targeting users via election ads based on their political affiliation.

The main formats Google offers political advertisers are Search ads, YouTube ads and display ads. Under the new rules, political advertisers may target their ads only down to the postal code level. (IANS)