IRS says hackers stole tax information from 100,000 Americans

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By Larry Banks

Cyber-thieves have used an online service provided by the IRS to steal information from over 100,000 taxpayers, the government agency said on Tuesday.

The information included tax returns and other tax information held on file by the IRS.

Hackers steal sensitive tax data

The IRS says the hackers accessed a computer system called “Get Transcript”. To access the information, the hackers cleared a special security system that required knowledge about the individual taxpayers, such as social security number, date of birth, tax filing status and their street address.

“The IRS notes this issue does not involve its main computer system that handles tax filing submission; that system remains secure,” the agency said in a statement released this week.

The IRS says the thieves targeted the system between February and May, and it has now been shut down temporarily.

“In all, about 200,000 attempts were made from questionable email domains, with more than 100,000 of those attempts successfully clearing authentication hurdles,” the agency said. “During this filing season, taxpayers successfully and safely downloaded a total of approximately 23 million transcripts”.

Tax returns of course include lots of personal information that can be used by hackers to steal someone’s identity, such as social security numbers, and birthdays of spouses and dependents. The IRS has said however that the thieves already had a lot of personal information about their victims.

The IRS is said to be notifying taxpayers whose information was accessed.

SOURCE: Business Insider.

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