FTC Advice On How To Deal With Equifax Hack: Er... Race The Hackers To Filing Your Taxes Before They Do

from the what-the-actual-fuck dept

So, yes, by now you know all about the whole Equifax hack and how really, really terrible it is. Lots of sites have been posting various stories about what you should do about it, when the truth is you really can't do much. A lot of people are likely going to deal with an awful lot of bad stuff almost entirely because of this leak by Equifax. Not surprisingly, the FTC has weighed in with some suggestions, most of which won't actually help very much. Most of them are the standard suggestions everyone's giving -- including checking your credit reports, putting a credit freeze on your files and basically watching very closely to see if you're fucked over by whoever has access to these files.

But the FTC's very last suggestion is the one I wanted to focus on today. It's basically "um, well, maybe try to file your tax returns early next year, so you beat hackers trying to do the same?"

File your taxes early — as soon as you have the tax information you need, before a scammer can. Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job. Respond right away to letters from the IRS.

As someone who has been a victim of someone filing fake tax returns to try to get your refund, it's a really shitty process to go through. The problem here, though, is the whole setup of our tax system, which makes it pretty damn easy for someone to fake your tax returns -- now made even easier thanks to this breach. If the FTC really wanted to help, it should be pushing for a complete overhaul of how tax filing works, such that merely knowing your Social Security Number and address isn't enough to file tax returns in your name. Among the many problems here, it starts with the idiotic idea that we use SSNs as an identity tool -- but there's also the fact that we continue to have the IRS force every American to play a guessing game with their taxes just to keep tax prep companies like Intuit and H&R Block happy.

I recognize that the FTC isn't directly in a position to fix this, but the fact that it's best suggestion is "race the hackers to filing your tax returns and hope you get there first" should highlight just how totally fucked up our income tax system is in the US.

Filed Under: ftc, hackers, social security numbers, tax returns
Companies: equifax

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  1. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Sep 2017 @ 2:33pm

    If only there were actual laws to protect citizens.
    Far to often we hear the battlecry of to much regulation is making it hard for business!!!

    Ummm, if we had a law demanding a basic level of security from the big black boxes that gather & hold all sorts of details that can allow someone to ruin your life... they might have had 25 cents less in dividends.

    The "response" from them has been laughable, their new url to check looks like a phishing domain, the site has holes that were patched in the code... YEARS AGO. The pins are based on the date & any name & any number combination results in the yep you got hacked response. They moved to sell off stock before the price tanked & consulted legal to add wording to try and deflect any legal attack on them fucking a giant portion of the country.

    No one gives a shit about us, we are just commodities to be exploited. We vote for the right soundbites, our web browsing is collected & sold to sell us more. Our data is for sale (or the taking) to say if we are a good credit risk based on mystical metrics using data not verified in reality, but they become the reality even when they are wrong. They decide you credit score is 300 because someone typoed a name... to fucking bad for you. You have to invest a huge amount of time & effort into doing the job for the data miners.

    But then this is the country thats running ads on TV that NEXT Year they are sending out new Medicare cards... without Social Security numbers on them. But we spend more time fighting over how to build a wall or sneak in legislation to allow politicians to get even more dark untraceable money.

    We have a fucked system, because those with the money own those who are supposed to care about our best interests.

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