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IRS suspends ‘Get IP PIN’ feature

The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) has decided to suspend the ‘Get IP PIN’ feature, following announcements made by security experts that the service is insecure.

The ‘Get IP PIN’ feature allowed taxpayers to retrieve the so-called IP Protection PIN via the IRS website, and it was actually designed to help people avoid becoming victims of tax refund fraud.

Now, the IRS has suspended it after KrebsOnSecurity said ID thieves were abusing the service, and has started an investigation to see how the service could be made more secure for taxpayers.

“The IRS is conducting a further review of the application that allows taxpayers to retrieve their IP PINs online and is looking at further strengthening the security features on the tool,” the agency said.

“For taxpayers retrieving a lost IP PIN, the IRS emphasizes it has put strengthened processes and filters in place for this tax season to review these tax returns,” the agency said.

“These strengthened review procedures – which are invisible to taxpayers – have helped detect potential identity theft and stopped refund fraud. Taxpayers who have been issued an IP PIN should continue to file their tax returns as they normally would. The online tool is primarily used by taxpayers who have lost their IP PINs and need to retrieve their numbers. Most taxpayers receive their IP PIN via mail and never use the online tool.”

The IRS says that out of 2.7 million IP PINs that were emailed to taxpayers for the current filing season, some five per cent tried to use the feature to retrieve a lost, or forgotten IP PIN.