IRS thieves, Wall Street Gangsters and Cyber gas thieves

IRS thieves, Wall Street Gangsters and Cyber gas thieves

IRS says thieves used agency website to steal tax info from additional 220,000 taxpayers

An additional 220,000 potential victims had information stolen from an IRS website as part of a sophisticated scheme to use stolen identities to claim fraudulent tax refunds; the IRS said Monday. The revelation more than doubles the total number of potential victims, to 334,000. The thieves accessed a system called “Get Transcript,” where taxpayers can get tax returns and other filings from previous years. In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address, the IRS said.

The personal information was presumably stolen from other sources. The IRS believes the thieves were accessing the IRS website to get even more information about the taxpayers, which could help them claim fraudulent tax refunds in the future. The IRS believes the thieves started targeting the website in February. The website was shut down in May.

On Monday, the IRS did not identify a potential source of the crime. But in May, officials said IRS investigators believe the identity thieves are part of a sophisticated criminal operation based in Russia. In 2012, the IRS sent a total of 655 tax refunds to a single address in Lithuania, and 343 refunds went to a lone address in Shanghai, according to a report by the agency’s inspector general. The IRS has since added safeguards to prevent similar schemes, but the criminals are innovating as well. The IRS estimates it paid out $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds to identity thieves in 2013.Full Story

The real story here is that governments from the outside are testing our security, and they are incredibly surprised at the lax attitude we have here.  They have already installed programs on the electric grid, and most likely have penetrated other utilities and critical systems; if they wanted to, they could shut down several key systems causing chaos without ever even firing a shot.  The day of I have the biggest gun is coming to an end.  Ultimately, this will lead to a new form of security, the virtual personal assistant that will constantly follow you everywhere, as soon it spots something amiss, it will move to defensive mode to protect your identity.  Sounds like sci-fi maybe, but then again, maybe not.   Interesting that the IRS which a lot of folk view in the same light as bandits, are now being hammered by bandits themselves.


How Wall Street is taking advantage of mum and pop investors

Americans have handed over trillions of dollars in savings to financial institutions and money managers. But are they getting their money’s worth? Probably not, says Bobby Monks, author of the new book, Uninvested: How Wall Street Hijacks Your Money and How to Fight Back. “The average investor is being systematically taken advantage of by the financial services industry,” Monks tells Yahoo Finance in the accompanying video. By “average investor,” Monks means anyone who has a 401(k), a retirement plan or is in a mutual fund.

So how are retail investors getting taken advantage of? A lack of transparency, a tangled web of fees and an evolved complexity in the investing process, he says. Monks was previously chairman of Spinnaker Trust, managing over $1 billion in assets.  He is a serial entrepreneur and a real estate developer as well. His father, Robert A. G. Monks, co-founded Institutional Shareholder Services and The Corporate Library. Bobby Monks served as chairman of ISS for several years until 2007.

Monks is particularly critical of the money manager role calling it “the only job in the capital system where you get paid even if you lose people money.” He says the whole industry is set up based on assets under management not individual portfolio success. “That’s how you get compensated rather than focusing on what’s a good product for the client,” says Monks. Very few investors enjoy the financial success of their money managers, he points out.  Fees are often obscured, he says, and sometimes they are not even shown.  Monks says the goal of his book is to demystify the system for the average investor and help them regain control over their investment process. Full Story

 There is nothing new here; our subscribers and we were aware of this issue years ago.  There are two things here worth noting. One, this guy is just trying to sell his book, which after you read will probably leave you with the feeling that you learnt nothing new.   Secondly, why in the hell do people need someone to write a book telling them how they are getting fleeced? In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.


Gas Jackers: Thieves outsmart gas stations

Gas stations have always been popular targets for armed robbers. Now savvy crooks don’t need guns to make off with full tanks. “Gas Jackers” are armed with inside information. Full Story

Cyber-warfare is escalating and will soon become nations’ and individuals’ new weapon of choice. Why attack someone with a Gun when you can take 100 times more with a computer and remain anonymous?


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