WASHINGTON May 21 Sensitive documents about
U.S. taxpayers were found in trash outside all Internal Revenue
Service sites visited in a investigation, putting the people at
risk of identity theft, an inspector's report says.
The tax collection agency must bolster oversight of
contractors who dispose of papers with personally identifiable
information, the inspector general for tax administration at
the U.S. Treasury said in the report released on Thursday.
"At every location we visited, we found documents
containing PII (personally identifiable information) or other
SBU (sensitive but unclassified) information in regular waste
containers and/or dumpsters," it said.
"If security policies are not adequately communicated and
adhered to, sensitive taxpayer information and employee data
are at an increased risk of disclosure or other improper
Americans have lost more than $45 billion to identify
theft, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The IRS, in response to the report, said it recently put in
standards to oversee waste contracts, including background
checks for employees. It agreed to all of the recommendations
the inspector requested to improve oversight.
Investigators visited eight IRS offices in Arizona,
Maryland, New York and Utah and interviewed managers across the
country from September 2007 to May 2008.
(Editing by John O'Callaghan)