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. identicon
    TripMN, 12 Sep 2017 @ 10:05pm

    The Big 3 are going to make money off of this

    The number one advice being given is that you should 'freeze' your credit. This means you have to contact the big 3 credit bureaus and pay them from $5-20+ dollars each depending on your state to process a freeze. There are ways to get it at no cost, but most of those require a police report of an investigation into identity theft... which is going to be tough for the 143 million people currently playing with Shrodinger's Data Leak.

    What would be interesting to see happen is to have the FTC step in and ban them from making money thru exploitation of a situation that the credit bureaus created themselves. I'm not holding my breath.

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