Hackers Infiltrate IRS Systems Stealing Info On 100,000 U.S. Taxpayers

Show of hands, who actually likes paying taxes? Anyone? It's not one of our favorite tasks either, and to add insult to injury, a band of advanced hackers reportedly infiltrated the Internal Revenue Service's records to collect personally identifiable information from over 100,000 taxpayers. It's believed that the cyber crooks involved weren't looking to send a message, but wanted to steal identities and intercept tax refunds.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in a statement that "these are not amateurs" and instead described them as "organized crime syndicates" that have been attacking numerous players in the financial industry, not just the IRS.

IRS 1040 form
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In this case, the hackers accessed the records by breaching a system called "Get Transcript," which is a service that taxpayers can use to look up tax returns and other related documents filed in the past, Associated Press reports. They had to make their way through a security screen that required personally identifiable information about the taxpayer, including Social Security number, date of birth, taxing filing status, and street address.

Where they obtained the necessary information to clear the security screen either isn't known or information the IRS is keeping close to the vest at this time. At present, the IRS and the agency's inspector general are both investigating the security breach.

The IRS became suspicious of foul play when it noticed an unusual uptick in taxpayers looking up prior transcripts, with about 200,000 attempts coming from "questionable email domains." Including both legitimate and illegal requests, there were about 23 million transcripts downloaded this tax seasons.

Tags:  security, Taxes, Hacking, IRS
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