The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently announced that one of their systems has been hacked by organized criminals believed to be linked to one or more foreign countries. The system, “Get Transcript,” is traditionally used by taxpayers to retrieve tax returns from prior years. The hackers were able to access the information from this system for approximately 104,000 individuals, although attempts were made on over 200,000.
In order for the hackers to access the system through the multi-step authentication process, the hackers had substantial information regarding these individuals prior to this event. Information that the hackers had on each person prior to this incident likely included social security numbers, dates of birth, tax filing statuses, and street addresses.
The result from the data breach includes approximately 15,000 fraudulently filed tax returns, however, the IRS notes that the volume and type of data retrieved may be used to perpetrate other frauds. These frauds include opening new lines of credit or credit cards in the victim’s name, filing future fraudulent tax returns, or otherwise taking advantage from the sensitive information.
For those 200,000 individuals directly impacted, the IRS will notify them regarding the data breach and monitor their tax returns closely next year. For the 104,000 accounts actually hacked, the IRS will provide free credit monitoring services and a secure PIN, to add another security layer for future tax filings.
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