There have been a large number of articles and reports about the amount of money the IRS has lost to bogus tax filings. Placing “IRS Identity Theft” in any search engine will result in hundreds of links to articles, news reports, and even to the IRS web site telling about the size and scope of this problem for the IRS.
This is why I am wondering why the IRS is actually providing all the information for the thieves to take over millions of people’s identity.
I believe in having my federal taxes completed as soon as I can each year. Unfortunately this year I owed the IRS a small amount. Since I am one that does not believe in waiting till the last minute to pay things, I sent a check for the amount owed. When I reviewed my banking transactions I saw the check that I sent to the IRS had been cashed. I am not sure why I decided to review a copy, maybe I have been fighting fraud to long, but to my surprise the stamp that the IRS uses for depositing the check contained my Social Security number.
The number was not encrypted, partially blocked, or hidden in any way. Financial institutions have had major breaches over the last few years and anyone with a simple program to recognize key words on electronically stored documents could easily obtain all of the information on the front and back of the checks allowing for identity thieves to steal using the unsuspecting parties’ information including the social security number.
One of the basic rules of protecting your information is never to given out personal information especially your social security number. You can imagine my surprise when I found out this one document contain this information.
I understand why it might be necessary to have an identification number that the IRS or individual party could reference in case of any future disputes occurring but I really believe that something other than a person’s social security number should be stamped on a document that could be intercepted by any number of persons at the various financial institutions or clearing stations that are used to process financial documents.