June 4, 2015
Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that a "brute force" hacking attempt compromised approximately 104,000 taxpayer accounts through the utilization of the “Get Transcript” tool located on IRS.gov. In the attack, hackers utilized information gleaned from black market sources to answer identity verification questions and receive confidential information from the IRS system.
The IRS reports that the system has been used 23 million times to provide taxpayers important information about their tax accounts as well as wage and earnings information. Although this hacking attempt is significant, as one industry source reports, less than one half of one percent of successful requests to the Get Transcript system were fraudulent—the hackers already had access to Social Security numbers, birthdates, and identity verification information like former addresses and phone numbers. They did not steal this information from Get Transcript.
Taxpayers whose accounts were compromised will be notified by the Internal Revenue Service. Individuals who believe their identities have been compromised in this, or any other attempt, should review the IRS “Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft,” which advises the following course of action:
Source: CPA Tax & Compliance Advisor email published by CPA Practice Advisor.
Small business owners in many communities offer downtown trick or treat events. Take advantage of this opportunity to build your business reputation. Involvement in local events goes a long way with both existing and prospective customers—indicating a vested interest in your community. Find creative ways to make your business stand out this trick-or-treat season. We hope the following suggestions will spark fun promotional ideas:
Any business that deals with financial data is a target for today’s aggressive cybercriminals…and accounting firms are not exempt. Because of the sensitive information we possess, accounting professionals have moved to the top of the hacker’s hit list. Just consider that a single tax return includes the taxpayer’s name and Social Security Number, as well as address, phone number and bank account numbers. It’s a treasure trove of sensitive data that cybercriminals crave.
October marks Women’s Small Business Month, and we are happy and proud to recognize women in business both locally and around the world. Successful business women of the past and present continue to forge new paths for female entrepreneurs. We celebrate all those who are breaking the glass ceiling and serving as role models and mentors to women everywhere.