Washington DC- Amid growing concerns about identity theft, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight, announced that he has secured a commitment from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen to work with Pennsylvania officials to protect the state’s taxpayers from identity theft that can lead to tax fraud. At a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee, Casey questioned the IRS Commissioner and J. Russell George, Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), U.S. Department of the Treasury, about the steps being taken to confront tax identity theft. The most recent data breach impacted over 100,000 taxpayers and resulted in $50 million in fraudulent returns.
“More than ever before, taxpayers are confronted with the threat of identity theft,” Senator Casey said. “I’m pleased that Commissioner Koskinen has committed to working with the state to protect taxpayers, prevent tax fraud, and apprehend the criminals responsible.”
In May, the IRS detected a massive data theft involving the agency's website, where hackers used taxpayers’ personal information, including SSNs, emails, and answers to personal security questions, to overcome several layers of security and gain access to victims’ tax returns from previous years. The hackers subsequently used this information to file fraudulent tax returns, which were fulfilled by the IRS to the tune of $50 million before the agency discovered the scheme. About 104,000 taxpayers were victims of the breach, which the IRS believes was the work of an organized criminal group, possibly located in Russia.