Money Minute: Yet Another Data Breach; Popular Tax Deduction Threatened?

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Another warning for millions of consumers about a possible breach of their credit card information.

Officials in California are trying to determine whether credit card data were stolen from the state's Department of Motor Vehicle computers. There are 24 million licensed drivers in the state. It's not certain yet how many files were accessed, if any, and what information may have been stolen.

American homeowners claim about $70 billion a year in federal tax break for interest paid on home mortgages. But momentum is picking up to eliminate or reduce that tax deduction. And now, a new report from a conservative research group finds that the tax benefit primarily helps wealthier people -- mainly by encouraging them to buy large homes. At the same time, the study says the mortgage deduction doesn't significantly encourage home buying by people with incomes of less than $100,000.
Both President Obama and a leading House Republican have proposed plans to cap the mortgage interest deduction.

Good news for people who cheat on their taxes. They're less likely to be caught. The IRS audited five percent fewer tax returns in 2013 than it did the year before. That's because the agency's budget was slashed by $1 billion, and the number of employees fell by about 10,000. However, audits increased of taxpayers with incomes of more than $1 million.

Here on Wall Street last week, the Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) rose about 1.5 percent, while the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) gained 0.7 percent.

Get ready for a crush of initial public offerings, including King Digital Entertainment, maker of the hugely popular Candy Crush game. In all, 14 companies are lined up to go public this week. Some bears say that's a sign the market is too frothy and set for a significant pullback.

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.


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