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article imageIRS awards Equifax $7M contract to verify taxpayer's identity

By Karen Graham     Oct 4, 2017 in Business
The IRS will pay Equifax $7.25 million to verify taxpayer identities and help prevent fraud under a no-bid contract issued last week.
The news comes out after Equifax CEO Richard Smith, who stepped down after a data breach exposed personal information on over 145 million Americans, was raked over the coals on Tuesday at a hearing of a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.
The contract award for Equifax's data services was posted on the Federal Business Opportunities database Sept. 30 — the final day of the fiscal year. According to the contract, the credit agency will "verify taxpayer identity" and "assist in ongoing identity verification and validations" at the IRS.
According to The Hill, the IRS labels Equifax as a “sole source order,” meaning the agency believes the credit reporting company is the only business capable of providing the service.
As for the IRS, they say they already have an existing contract for similar services with Equifax and they don't believe the company poses a risk to IRS data.
Internal Revenue Service building in Washington
Internal Revenue Service building in Washington
"Equifax advised us that no IRS data was involved in their breach," the IRS said in a statement. "Following an internal review and an on-site visit with Equifax, the IRS believes the service Equifax provided does not pose a risk to IRS data or systems." But they will be closely monitoring the situation.
Besides the massive data breach in July, which affected the personal information on nearly half of all Americans, Equifax continued to receive bad press after charging people to see if they were affected by the breach and then accidentally tweeting a link to a fake website.
As if this wasn't enough, the Justice Department has opened an investigation into Equifax over concerns about insider trading after three executives unloaded millions of dollars worth of stock and options right before the data breach was made public.
“Mr. Smith, it seems to me that you’ve accomplished something that no one else has been able to accomplish,” Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) said Tuesday. And that is that you have brought Republicans and Democrats together in outrage and distress and frustration over what’s happened because this is huge."
More about Irs, equifax, identity verification, nobid contract, Data breach
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