Updated May 27, 2015 – The IRS reported a breach at one of its online services that might affect as many as 100,000 U.S. households. The perpetrators used personal information, obtained from other sources, to steal previously filed tax returns and file for fraudulent refunds. It appears that the thieves were able to exploit “Get Transcript” application and gain access to past tax returns this way. Since then the application was shut down.
What to do next?
With tax season behind us, it will be much easier to get an IRS agent on the phone and ensure that you were not affected by this breach. I also suggest monitoring your credit to respond swiftly in case you notice a suspicious activity.
How to monitor your credit for free?
So to make sure that none of your personal information was misappropriated, go to the Annual Credit Report website. Then click on Request your free credit report. You will have to fill out some forms and have a choice of which report you want, more precisely by which reporting bureau: Equifax, Experian, or Trans Union. You can have a report by all three bureaus or just selected one. By picking only one of those companies, you will be able to run another report in 4 months this time by a different provider. This way you get 3 reports per year and then start the process again. The final part is to answer several questions to prove your identity. There are questions about places you lived at, purchases you might have made, etc. There are quite a few questions but once you complete that, you get your report. And that’s it!