IRS: Worker took home personal info on 20K workers

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An Internal Revenue Service employee took home personal information on about 20,000 IRS workers, former workers and contractors, putting the data at risk for public release, the agency said Tuesday.

The employee took home a computer thumb drive containing names, Social Security numbers and addresses of the workers, and plugged the drive into an unsecure home network, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in an email to employees.

"At this point, we have no direct evidence to indicate this personal information has been used for identity theft or other inappropriate uses," the IRS said in a statement.

Koskinen said the incident did not involve any taxpayer information. The IRS said the potential breach was an isolated incident.

Almost all the employees worked at IRS offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. Most no longer work at the IRS. Koskinen said the agency was working to contact each of them, and would offer free identity theft monitoring.

The personal information dated back to at least 2007. The agency's inspector general was investigating the potential breach.

An IRS spokeswoman declined to comment on the status of the employee who took home the data, citing federal privacy laws.

The top Republican tax writer in Congress said the IRS should do a better job protecting confidential information.

"In the past, the IRS has released personal taxpayer information to the public, and has not been able to effectively prevent and detect identity theft," Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said. "This latest report is concerning. The IRS has repeatedly broken the American people's trust, and the Ways and Means Committee will take a thorough look into this incident."

___

Follow Stephen Ohlemacher on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stephenatap

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Top Stories

  • Scary Truth
    Jason Rantz says everyone needs to be mindful on the road, even pedestrians

  • The Rivalry
    Wilson & Kaepernick share this week's SI cover, so we decided to compare their offseasons

  • Boeing on the Field
    Boeing brings its aerospace innovation to players on the football field
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Listen to the show
Hear GeekWire on KIRO Radio
Join Todd Bishop and John Cook weekends on KIRO Radio to talk Seattle technology.

Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from MyNorthwest.com
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.