More than 100,000 households’ tax data stolen through IRS website

irsThe Internal Revenue Service announced Tuesday that identity thieves “used taxpayer-specific data acquired from non-IRS sources to gain unauthorized access to information on approximately 100,000 tax accounts through IRS’ ‘Get Transcript’ application.”

Data acquired illegally, such as Social Security information, date of birth or street address, could be used to clear the IRS’ “multi-step authentication process,” rendering most of those safety precautions useless. With this data, the IRS said, criminals were able to file fraudulent tax refunds.

According to the statement:

“The matter is under review by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration as well as the IRS’ Criminal Investigation unit, and the ‘Get Transcript’ application has been shut down temporarily.

In addition to disabling the “Get Transcript” application, the IRS has taken the below steps:

  • “Sending a letter to all of the approximately 200,000 taxpayers whose accounts had attempted unauthorized accesses, notifying them that third parties appear to have had access to taxpayer Social Security numbers and additional personal financial information from a non-IRS source before attempting to access the IRS transcript application. Although half of this group did not actually have their transcript account accessed because the third parties failed the authentication tests, the IRS is still taking an additional protective step to alert taxpayers. That’s because malicious actors acquired sensitive financial information from a source outside the IRS about these households that led to the attempts to access the transcript application.
  • “Offering free credit monitoring for the approximately 100,000 taxpayers whose Get Transcript accounts were accessed to ensure this information isn’t being used through other financial avenues. Taxpayers will receive specific instructions so they can sign up for the credit monitoring. The IRS emphasizes these outreach letters will not request any personal identification information from taxpayers. In addition, the IRS is marking the underlying taxpayer accounts on our core processing system to flag for potential identity theft to protect taxpayers going forward — both right now and in 2016.”

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