Avoiding US Identity Theft

A US person recently tried to access me at an address known only to the SSA and IRS. Looks like they hacked the IRS.

It’s not exactly hacking:

IRS employees ignored security rules and turned over sensitive computer information to a caller posing as a technical support person, according to a government study.

Sixty-one of the 102 people who got the test calls, including managers and a contractor, complied with a request that the employee provide his or her user name and temporarily change his or her password to one the caller suggested, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, an office that does oversight of Internal Revenue Service.

The caller asked for assistance to correct a computer problem.

The report said that by failing to question the identity of the caller the employees were putting the IRS at risk of providing unauthorized people access to taxpayer data that could be used for identity theft and other fraudulent schemes.

Fortunately, I’d supplied the IRS and SSA with poste restante addresses.

Brits visiting the US should provide similarly sanitized data to their airlines and avoid using credit cards to buy tickets – it all gets passed to the TSA which holds it for 20 years, and there’s no reason to expect it’ll be any better at protecting your data than the IRS.


4 Responses to Avoiding US Identity Theft

  1. Jay says:

    And don’t drive in California. One speeding ticket and all the data from your driver’s license gets sent to Mexico. Name, date of birth, address, plate number and license number – which is worst of all if you’re from a state that uses social security numbers as your DL number.

  2. “poste restante addresses”

    What is this? ………steve

  3. gandalf says:


    Sorry – I should have given the US equivalent.

    Post Restante is a private equivalent of General Delivery – a holding address.

    But rather than use a Post Office, we use a mailing service that collects the mail and sends it on to wherever we are whenever we ask.

    Works great if you travel a lot.

    And has this unlooked for benefit of shielding privacy.

  4. gandalf says:


    I guess that’s why illegals pinch other people’s SSNs – they’re just protecting themselves from identity theft.

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