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Americans ‘Should Assume’ Their Tax Returns Can Be Hacked From The IRS, Expert Says

Americans ‘Should Assume’ Their Tax Returns Can Be Hacked From The IRS, Expert Says

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Nov. 15, 2017

No one’s financial information is safe from hackers at the Internal Revenue Service — not even President Trump’s.

That’s according to fraud investigator John Powers, who suspects Trump’s tax returns have been stolen from the IRS. Powers also believes that expert hackers could take anybody’s data from the agency if they wanted it.

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“Considering Trump’s risk profile, the determination of his detractors, and the current state of cybersecurity, it’s almost inconceivable his tax returns haven’t been hacked—successfully—by someone with more experience and expertise,” Powers wrote in Wired on Sunday.

“After all, American taxpayers should assume their personally identifying information is already in the hands of criminals and then act accordingly, as former IRS commissioner John Koskinen recently told reporters.”

Koskinen said: “Our estimate is a significant percent of those taxpayers already had their information in the hands of criminals.”

Powers is a certified fraud investigator who has coordinated investigations with the FBI, U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). He has had 20 years of experience and now heads up Hudson Intelligence in New York.

Powers noted that:

  • The IRS awarded a contract to Equifax for fraud protection services. Equifax is the credit bureau that lost data from about 145 million people to hackers earlier this year.
  • Fraudsters were able to steal data from about 100,000 taxpayers and $30 million by hacking an IRS tool for students seeking financial aid.
  • A Louisiana private investigator named Jordan Hamlett may have come close to stealing Trump’s tax returns – and he wasn’t even an expert hacker.

Powers surmises that hackers have seen Trump’s tax returns but haven’t released it because there is nothing there.

“Maybe the tax returns just aren’t that juicy,” he wrote.

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