WASHINGTON – It’s been a constant in the daily news cycle: cyber hacks. It’s hit people on their own credit cards and even the most high profile of companies. But now, members of Congress say there is another type of hack many people – even its victims- don’t know about.
Right now, hackers are filing tax returns under stolen social security numbers. Of course, this is a huge problem for the victim themselves, but it is also an issue for all tax payers. Senator Mark Warner of Virginia says the IRS has spent nearly $6 billion in inappropriate tax payments, his own father included.
Warner is working with a bipartisan group of senators to first stop tax fraud from occurring and making the IRS more transparent if and when it does. Many times victims aren’t notified of a breach because of hesitation with privacy laws. Senator Warner says this can happen to anyone, and the IRS needs to hold people responsible.
“This is a brave new world. We’re going to have to be constantly vigilant and constantly improving our methods to stay ahead of hackers and criminals that are doing this,” Warner said.
The legislation would also specifically classify this type of fraud as a felony.
Warner is also advocating for an additional four-digit pin to be added to the end of a social security number. He says this would give people an extra layer of protection.
The Senate Finance Committee will take up the bill Wednesday morning.