United States

Hackers steal taxpayer’s identity information from the IRS website


Private information on more than 100,000 taxpayers was stolen through the IRS' Get Transcript application, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen announced on May 26. The thieves used taxpayer-specific information obtained from outside sources to clear the multi-step authentication process of the application. This incident is contained and no other IRS systems are affected. Mr. Koskinen said, "This is not a security breach. Our basic information is secure."

The thieves now have personal information on many taxpayers including Social Security numbers, birth dates, street addresses and names of dependents and spouses, which can be used to steal their identities. Commonly, this information is used to file fraudulent returns to receive tax refunds. Already, thousands of fraudulent returns have been filed as a result of the breach, however, the commissioner said the total will likely be fewer than 15,000.

The issue is currently under investigation by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration and the IRS's Criminal Investigation unit. The Get Transcript application has been temporarily shut down.

The IRS will send out notices of the breach and provide free credit monitoring services to taxpayers whose accounts were accessed. If you receive a notice from the IRS that your information has been stolen, you should immediately file for an identity protection PIN using IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit or contact your tax advisor to help you complete the form.


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