IRS suspends online tool during security review

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said Monday it has temporarily suspended an online tool that allows taxpayers to retrieve their identity protection PINs.

The agency said it suspended the web feature “as part of its ongoing security review.”

IP PINs are numbers assigned to certain taxpayers in an effort to prevent their Social Security numbers from being misused on fraudulent returns. About 2.7 million taxpayers received IP PINs by mail for the current filing season, and about 5 percent of those people have used the online tool to obtain a PIN that they have lost or forgotten, the IRS said.

Last week, security journalist and researcher Brian Krebs reported about a case in which a woman’s IP PIN had been compromised.

“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.

The IRS has already implemented enhanced processes this tax season to review returns with IP PINs. The agency said it has stopped 800 fraudulent tax returns using IP PINs through the end of last month.