The IRS is ignoring a recommendation to provide credit monitoring and an extra layer of identity protection to the more than 79,000 people whose tax accounts were the subject of a hack attempt, despite the recommendation of a government IRS watchdog.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration recommended that these steps be taken after hackers tried to access tax information belonging to other people through a "Get Transcript" feature on the IRS website. That feature was aimed at helping people view and download their tax data.
TIGTA said the feature was removed after it was discovered that outsiders were trying to use it for "unauthorized accesses to taxpayer data."
In response, TIGTA said it recommended that the IRS provide credit monitoring and an Identity Protection Personal Identification Number, or IP PIN, to people affected. But the IRS rejected that proposal.
"The IRS disagreed with the recommendation to issue IP PINs to the 79,122 individuals with attempted accesses to their tax information," TIGTA said. "Although it disagreed with the recommendation, it acknowledged the potential inconsistency in its IP PIN issuance policy and stated that it would consider this inconsistency in future IP PIN policy decisions."
TIGTA concluded that "the lack or prompt action on this issue leaves these taxpayers' accounts at an increased risk of fraud."
The recommendation was one of eight made by TIGTA in response to various hacking attempts on the IRS. According to the IRS, hackers successfully accessed the data of 355,000 taxpayers, and attempts were made on 620,000 people between Jan. 1, 2014 and May 21, 2015.
The IRS accepted TIGTA's other recommendations to help prevent these attacks. They included notifying the affected users and placing identity theft incident markers on the compromised accounts.