HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Thousands of you might want to check your credit report. A spokesman for the Internal Revenue Service is admitting his agency posted social security numbers on the internet. What does it mean for you?
WHNT NEWS 19 talked with a spokesman for the agency. The spokesman declined a request for an on-camera interview, but provided a statement. The bottom line is the agency posted the numbers by mistake. The numbers were on IRS documents with a disclaimer to the people filling out the forms to not put them there in the first place.
The IRS, back in the headlines, is accused of posting social security numbers on its website.
“Right now, it is not clear whose numbers may have been up there,” said Michele Mason with the North Alabama Better Business Bureau.
Mason is aware of the government agency’s mistake.
Dan Boone, a spokesman for the IRS, provided a statement to WHNT NEWS 19:
“When we were alerted last week that a substantial number of Social Security numbers were posted on IRS.gov in forms filed by section 527 political organizations, the IRS decided out of an abundance of caution to temporarily remove public web access to the records.
The law requires the IRS to publicly post forms, such as Forms 8871, 8872 and 990, that are submitted by section 527 organizations. The IRS frequently and routinely reminds organizations of the public disclosure of these forms and urges them not to include personal information, including Social Security numbers, in their public filings.
Following last week’s development, the IRS is assessing the situation and exploring available options.”
Mason has seen her share of scams.
“Well, your social security number definitely unlocks the box to a lot of information about yourself,” said Mason.
But, a social security number alone, does not always give thieves an upper hand.
“In other cases, they may need more to access your credit report to get information about all of your accounts and take on your identity,” added Mason.