The IRS has been hacked. An online service provided by the IRS was used by thieves to access information of more than 100,000 taxpayers.
The IRS said the thieves accessed a system called “Get Transcript.” In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address.
“We’re confident that these are not amateurs,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen.
The IRS was alerted to the theft when employees noticed an increase in requests for taxpayer transcripts. The system was exploited from February to mid-May, according to the agency. “The IRS said its main computer system, which handles tax filing submissions, remains secure.” A criminal investigation is underway.
“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.”
The agency is still trying to figure out how many fraudulent claims for refunds were made using the stolen transcripts. Koskinen said a preliminary estimate puts the amount of refunds around $50 million.
The IRS will notify taxpayers whose information was compromised.