Thieves focus on social security numbers, tax returns

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Thieves have more ammunition to steal tax returns and collect your refund.

The IRS said identity thefts are up 66 percent from last year. It's now the agency's No. 1 priority. All thieves need to steal your identity is your name, address and your social security number.

"Here you see phone numbers, names and cities of people. There's about 10 million of these. You have account numbers, email addresses, passwords and password codes for 40 million people here," said Vinny Troia as he pointed to the characters of information scrolling on his computer screen. He's an ethical hacker and information security expert at Night Lion Security in St. Louis.

Businesses hire him to find the flaws before the hackers do. "When companies are breached the data that was stolen will end up on the internet," he said.

Hackers used stolen security numbers to file thousands of tax returns. They collected $4 billion from the IRS in 2012. The IRS is trying to stop the hackers. Three thousand more agents are looking for thieves. The agency is issuing personalized pin numbers to American so they are personally verified when they file their taxes.

The IRS said protect your online tax return with a complicated password. It's hard for hackers to break it.

Take your efile off your computer after you filed it. Put it on a hard drive or flash drive. Call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490 if you've been a victim.


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