News in Brief

IRS-OPM teamwork and a China cyber warning

Warner wants IRS and OPM to team up

Sen. Mark Warner has asked the IRS to help the Office of Personnel Management deal with the fallout of its massive breaches that exposed millions of current, former and retired federal workers' personal data.

"[F]iling and claiming a false [tax] return is startlingly easy, with scammers needing only a Social Security number (SSN) and a name to file and claim a false return," the Virginia Democrat wrote in a letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "I request that you coordinate with OPM to prevent the victims of the breach from also becoming victims of tax-related identity theft."

Warner specifically asked that the IRS provide Identity Protection Personal Identification Numbers (IP PINs) -- a security measure discussed when the IRS faced its own breach earlier this month -- to feds who need them, and work proactively to contact those who qualify. He also called for "additional filters" to be implemented to identify potentially fraudulent returns during the next tax season.

An IRS spokesman said the agency is reviewing Warner's letter, but did not offer further comment.

U.S. to raise cyber theft with China

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew indicated the United States will press China on cyber theft in annual bilateral talks held this week in Washington.

The two countries have "responsibilities to abide by certain standards of behavior within cyberspace," Lew said in prepared remarks to open the talks. "We remain deeply concerned about government-sponsored cyber theft from companies and commercial sectors."

The annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue comes as anonymous U.S. officials have pointed the finger at China for a massive hack of OPM that exposed the personal information of millions of current and former federal employees.

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