IRS Accidentally Leaks 20,000+ Social Security Numbers

Internet identity thieves had a short-term free-for-all when the IRS failed to scrub social security numbers from non-profit organization records posted online.

The news lately has been dominated by stories of IRS difficulties dealing with non-profit organizations. Now the IRS--and taxpayers--have a new headache: The Internal Revenue Service accidentally leaked tens of thousands of social securiy numbers online. Until several days ago, publicly accessible IRS databases containing information on millions of non-profit organizations did not have many donors' social security numbers scrubbed.

Archivist Carl Malamud of Bulk Resource discovered the social security numbers online after he requested the IRS make the information--which was previously only available on low-quality image scans purchased via CD-ROM--publicly accessible online. The IRS failed to do basic privacy scrubbing to the documents, exposing social security numbers to public view.

"This is only one of several exempt organization databases that the IRS has totally bungled. They've become addicted to bad Internet hygiene and it is time now for the Service to admit it needs help," Malamud wrote on his website.

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