Understanding the Impact of RITA’s Data Breach– February 03, 2016

On November 15, 2015, while preparing a limited number of DVDs for routine and secure destruction, the Regional Income Tax Agency (RITA) discovered that a DVD case was missing its DVD. The DVD contained backup copies of business income tax returns and employer withholding tax returns submitted on or before June 2012. Approximately 50,000 individuals’ names, social security numbers and possibly addresses were on the DVD. The 50,000 individuals represent approximately two percent of the accounts that RITA handles. RITA has sent out written notices to those tax payers whose information may have been on the DVD. If your information was on the missing DVD, you should have been notified by now.

Now What?
If you are on the list, what is the overall impact to you? Hopefully, this concern requires nothing more than the bothersome task of monitoring your credit. With what we know right now, RITA does not believe the DVD was stolen or that there has been any misuse of taxpayer information. RITA policy dictates that unlabeled DVDs are shredded and destroyed. This is what they believe happened to the missing DVD in question.

Out of caution, RITA has offered credit monitoring and identity protection from Experian — the largest credit bureau in the United States — for one year at no cost to the taxpayers affected. If you believe that fraud hdas occurred and you are a RITA taxpayer, contact Experian immediately at 866.751.1324. RITA also suggests signing up for fraud detection tools through ProtectMYID Elite. Login information was provided to those who received a RITA letter.

Future Risk?
In a statement released by RITA, they do not believe this type of breach will be an issue in the future. The agency has switched to a more secure process that no longer requires the use of DVDs to backup data. View RITA’s official press release.

To read more on identity theft in general and what victims need to do, read “Tax Identity Fraud Still Major Concern: What Victims Need To Do.” Also note that the IRS now allows victims of federal tax ID theft to obtain a redacted copy of the fraudulent return.

We want to hear from you! We encourage you to comment below on this blog post or share it on social media. Contact Karen Raghanti at kraghanti@cohencpa.com, Craig Frankford at cfrankford@cohencpa.com or a member of your service team for further discussion.