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IRS Awards $7 Million Fraud Prevention Contract To Equifax ( 115

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Politico: The IRS will pay Equifax $7.25 million to verify taxpayer identities and help prevent fraud under a no-bid contract issued last week, even as lawmakers lash the embattled company about a massive security breach that exposed personal information of as many as 145.5 million Americans. A contract award for Equifax's data services was posted to the Federal Business Opportunities database Sept. 30 -- the final day of the fiscal year. The credit agency will "verify taxpayer identity" and "assist in ongoing identity verification and validations" at the IRS, according to the award. The notice describes the contract as a "sole source order," meaning Equifax is the only company deemed capable of providing the service. It says the order was issued to prevent a lapse in identity checks while officials resolve a dispute over a separate contract. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle blasted the IRS decision.
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IRS Awards $7 Million Fraud Prevention Contract To Equifax

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  • by Steve Jackson ( 4687763 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @09:06AM (#55307445)
    Time to Start up a Class Action Against the IRS for ENABLING data compromised companies to perform government contracts involving IDENTITY! Appalling!
    • More regulations (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It won't happen. Listen my fellow peasant, we have to just bend over and take it.

      And when we get the letter stating that our taxes have already been filed (probably by some illegal alien using our SSN to get his refund and CTC, EITC, ACTC), WE will be the ones that will have to spend the time filling out forms to prove that we are who we are.

      Then, every tax year, WE will have to provide the documentation stating that we are who we say we are.

      All because businesses are careless with the data they insist on

      • by Anonymous Coward

        My company is currently spending a lot of money and time to comply with Europe's new General Data Protection Rules whereby any person can request that their information be completely removed for a company's systems. The reason the company is taking it seriously is because the fines for non-compliance are set as a percentage of the company's revenue so they could be massive. Plus no other European company will do business with us unless we're compliant.

        Here in the USA though the moment most people hear "Euro

      • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @10:50AM (#55308125) Journal

        A number is not proof of identity. It is a reference number to help establish that you are who you say you are. Having identifying information, like a Social Security Number is not proof of identity, it simply is a tool in what should be a chain of tools to help one verify (key word) identity.

        People who accept it as "proof" of identity are misusing it, and should be held accountable for that misuse. Any Line of Credit established without enough other evidence is itself evidence of lack of due diligence.

        • by HiThere ( 15173 ) <{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nsxihselrahc}> on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @01:11PM (#55309373)

          The problem is, when someone, say Equifax, collects the "other evidence useful for proof of identity", then they can impersonate you to anyone who don't personally know you. And if they share that information with some other entity, willingly or not, THAT entity can no impersonate you to anyone who doesn't know you.

          We aren't just talking about one piece of information here.

        • It is a reference number to help establish that you are who you say you are.

          Not quite. It is a reference number to help establish who you say you are. You need something else, like a secret or some unique biometric, to help establish who you are.

      • We don't need anything from EUROPEAN law. Period. You might WANT that. But we don't NEED it. Simply extend the protections of the Constitution to include protecting us from US Corporations (eg. Extend freedom of speech to EVERY speech focused platform), and bar the IRS from searches of persons or private info without a warrant. Including Financials... as it should be that way already. (With a requirement for a GOOD case of Probable...) They currently perform a warrant-less, suspicion-less search of your per
    • by Mitreya ( 579078 )

      Time to Start up a Class Action Against the IRS for ENABLING

      Heheh. We'll be lucky if lawsuit against Equifax gets us a $5 credit off our next credit freeze fee.
      Class Action against IRS will get you many years of free tax audits, though.

    • The reality of the situation is that the IRS has been chronically underfunded because it suits the owners of the US government to not have anyone competent reviewing their books too closely. The idea that a private company be outsourced such sensitive data is ludicrous, but the IRS will never have the funding to do it in-house properly.
      • This makes no sense. The IRS only does what Congress tells them to do. If the government wanted the IRS to not look at certain books, they could easily change the law to make that happen. No underfunding required.

      • but the IRS will never have the funding to do it in-house properly.

        Whoa there; in years past the IRS has wasted whopping piles of money on failed IT projects that they don't outsource. The problem is not lack of funding but lack of competence, especially in project management.

        • by HiThere ( 15173 )

          Are you claiming that Equifax is better? Or just that Equifax doesn't make their mistakes public?

          • I'm claiming that I was replying to someone who said the IRS never has the funding to do IT projects in house.

    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )
      Something to think about... an accountant friend said IRS like many other agencies are having their budgets cut which means less staff. There was an auditor she has worked with (unlike popular perception many IRS auditors don't shake you down like gang members), occasionally auditor examines the numbers to be sure nothing is extreme. But with congress and the President constantly shaking down many govt agencies, some of the employees get fed up and quit, some retire, there are also early retirement "buy out
  • capable (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pD-brane ( 302604 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @09:14AM (#55307491) Homepage

    Equifax is the only company deemed capable ...

    Since Equifax has shown to be very incapable (of exactly the things they should be capable of), what does this say about all other companies in this business?

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      Equifax is the only company deemed capable ...

      In other news IRS procurement and partner evaluation procedures revealed to be incapable.

    • Usually, being "deemed capable" implies being able to deliver a specific product or service in the exact manner that the requesting agency wants it.

      TransUnion and Experian may be better on any number of metrics, but if they cannot check off all the requirements then they are eliminated from consideration.

      That said, now would be a great time for those competitors to force the IRS to review its requirements. Half of the time, those important "sole source" contracts have a few bullshit requirements just to gua

  • Sole Source (Score:5, Funny)

    by BKuhl ( 2470 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @09:18AM (#55307517)
    Why is it a "sole source orderâoe? We have verified at least a few other parties have access to all the same data now....
  • by seven of five ( 578993 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @09:18AM (#55307523)
    Their CEO and Chief Security Officer resigned, so the problem's fixed...
  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @09:26AM (#55307563)
    They will need a good fraud prevention program following the data breach by Equifax ... Oh wait!
  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @09:44AM (#55307671) Homepage

    [quote]The notice describes the contract as a "sole source order," meaning Equifax is the only company deemed capable of providing the service[/quote]
    While that may have been true at the time of posting the order, pretty much every company has access to the same data as Equifax now.

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      "every company has access to the same data as Equifax now" How do you figure? Do we know who exploited Equifax's alleged security? If it is the Chinese government, it would akin to an act of war to sell that information if the U.S. ever cottoned on to it.

    • If Equifax is proving identity verification services, it's not just about the data.

      There is some complicated process by which the government requests identity verification. There are two things that make this process complicated:

      1. It complies with absolutely every federal privacy rule---because no bureaucrat is going to risk his job on something that does not comply with the law. The rules may or may not actually protect us, but they will be followed regardless.

      2. It interfaces with some arcane government

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @09:57AM (#55307747)


  • by CHK6 ( 583097 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @10:02AM (#55307773)
    Since this was a non-bid contract, the paper work from the IRS side was in-flight before Equihack disclosed their blunder. What is astonishing is how, once in-flight, the contract cannot be stopped. My guess is between financial end-of-year and project timelines behind the scenes probably kept this going. I can only hope the IRS is as intrusive into the behind the scenes as they can get in securing the data handling as it is auditing businesses.
    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      The decision was no doubt made weeks ago. The announcement had to be made by Sept. 30 so it was in the right fiscal year budget - use it or lose it.
  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @10:05AM (#55307789)

    This IRS calling to check your identity we need your
    SS number or tax ID number

    • This IRS calling to check your identity we need your
      SS number or tax ID number

      Hello, IRS agent! It's on the internet now, so by all means, feel free to download it.

  • Equifax just proved that they have the necessary data...

  • by zeugma-amp ( 139862 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @11:31AM (#55308531) Homepage
    There is a reason we call it "Government Level Stupidity".
  • by bryanp ( 160522 ) on Wednesday October 04, 2017 @11:59AM (#55308761)

    The Dept. of Human Services has awarded a contract to a company formed by OJ Simpson, Robert Blake, and Scott Peterson to do research into domestic violence prevention and awareness.

  • you have to wonder what could have happened to make such fraud prevention measures necessary.
  • I think "swamp" is the alt-rights" code phrase for Treasury....

    We have heard that the government doesn't work, so elect "so and so"; if they get elected, they then break the (previously working) government exactly as they described, and say it never worked.
  • Equifax just showed the world their absolute ineptitude and now the IRS wants to give them a contract with sensitive information!? Oh boy! Now I have seen absolutely everything. Lightning may strike me dead because I really and truly can see nothing more.
  • Let's hear from the crowd, who like to pay taxes [] — because that's how they buy civilization [].

    They seem kind of quiet today for some reason...

  • So, if I understand correctly, an organization who whose sensitive personal data (on almost every US taxpayer) has been compromised, is now being paid to be the sole source of verification for that very same information. What could go wrong?

    I realize I am at odds with 50% of the American Electorate, but perhaps we need to get specific on who exactly is in this swamp that needs draining. Ajit Pai is cool? Equifax is legit? And people support these positions? WTF.

    I don't know the exact word for state of A
  • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

    The damned credit agencies can't even get my address right. I've ran 3 agency checks several times over the last few years, and found multiple errors, and yet the government wants to rely on these jackasses? They should be sued into oblivion for not getting their shit straight. I'm currently fighting with one of them over a phony bill from MCI...yes, MCI. I had used them at an old address that I moved away from back in '02, and yet MCI posted that I owe them about $50 as of 2013...eleven years after I n

  • Did I wake up in a parallel universe? Think of every possible expletive than dream of shoving them up the tail of this huge asses.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.