Share This Page

IRS worker takes home data on colleagues

| Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 8:51 p.m.

WASHINGTON — An Internal Revenue Service employee took home personal information on about 20,000 IRS workers, former workers and contractors, putting the data at risk for public release, the agency said on Tuesday.

The employee took home a computer thumb drive containing names, Social Security numbers and addresses of the workers, and plugged the drive into an unsecure home network, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in an email to employees.

“At this point, we have no direct evidence to indicate this personal information has been used for identity theft or other inappropriate uses,” the IRS said in a statement.

Koskinen said the incident did not involve any taxpayer information. The IRS said the potential breach was an isolated incident.

Almost all the employees worked at IRS offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Most no longer work at the IRS. Koskinen said the agency was working to contact each of them, and would offer free identity theft monitoring.

The personal information dated back to at least 2007. The agency's inspector general was investigating the potential breach.

The top Republican tax writer in Congress said the IRS should do a better job protecting confidential information.

“In the past, the IRS has released personal taxpayer information to the public, and has not been able to effectively prevent and detect identity theft,” said Michigan Republican Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. “This latest report is concerning. The IRS has repeatedly broken the American people's trust, and the Ways and Means Committee will take a thorough look into this incident.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.