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Weekly Roundup of Identity Theft and Data Breach News

Weekly Roundup of Identity Theft and Data Breach News
August 9, 2013
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News was released this week of a phone scam being used in several states to get people hand over hundred of dollars or more in cash. A new survey has also showed that cyber risks are viewed as more important than natural disasters to many companies. Research also showed this week that the IRS is failing to keep people safe from tax refund fraud, and that the Department of Veterans Affairs large amount of paper files are often the source of its data breaches.

Phone Scammers Impersonating Police Officers
Fraudsters are calling people pretending to be a local police officer and telling them they have an outstanding warrant against them due to unpaid debt, missed jury duty or other reason, USA Today reported. To pay for their outstanding fines for these alleged crimes, the scammers tell the victims they should make a wire transfer of money through Western Union or purchase a prepaid credit card and register it online. Investigators found this happening in Georgia, Florida, Oregon and Kansas and are warning people that police would never call someone to seek unpaid fines.

Combating Cybersecurity Risks Ranks High on Priority Lists
Many organizations and businesses see the risk of cyberattaks as greater than the risk of a natural disaster, fires or other major business risks, a new Ponemon Institute survey revealed. Data breach protection is a must for many companies, Fierce Health IT reported. Those surveyed said protecting against the financial impacts of a cyberattack was a must and ranked higher than other insurable risks. As a result, most companies have cyber security insurance or are looking into adopting its.

IRS Needs to Stop Issuing Tax Refunds to Fraudsters, Groups Say
The Government Accountability Office and the National Taxpayer Advocate group said the IRS is not doing enough to combat fraudulent tax returns from being filed and issued. The IRS reported nearly 1.9 million cases of ID theft this year, CPA Practice Advisor reported. One problem, the GAO said, is that the IRS does not understand the extent of the fraud. The National Taxpayer Advocate also wrote to Congress, saying the IRS is delaying case resolution, further harming victims of identity theft.

The Problem of Paper for the VA
The VA still relies on many paper records, and that is creating a problem of data breaches for the department. Stephen Warren, VA acting assistant secretary for information and technology, said Aug. 8 that 98 percent of data breaches involve actual paper records, FCW reported. Paper documents are misplaced, mishandled or improperly mailed by VA workers. These mistakes can happen hundreds of times a month, exposing veterans' Social Security numbers, addresses and other personal information like pension claim ratings.

Matt Cullina is chief executive officer of IDentity Theft 911.

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