Last week, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced that a "brute force" hacking attempt compromised approximately 104,000 taxpayer accounts through the utilization of the “Get Transcript” tool located on IRS.gov. In the attack, hackers utilized information gleaned from black market sources to answer identity verification questions and receive confidential information from the IRS system.
The IRS reports that the system has been used 23 million times to provide taxpayers important information about their tax accounts as well as wage and earnings information. Although this hacking attempt is significant, as one industry source reports, less than one half of one percent of successful requests to the Get Transcript system were fraudulent—the hackers already had access to Social Security numbers, birthdates, and identity verification information like former addresses and phone numbers. They did not steal this information from Get Transcript.
Taxpayers whose accounts were compromised will be notified by the Internal Revenue Service. Individuals who believe their identities have been compromised in this, or any other attempt, should review the IRS “Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft,” which advises the following course of action:
- File a police report.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
- Contact one or more trade bureau and request a “fraud alert.”
- Close any financial accounts opened without your permission.
- Respond immediately to any IRS notice.
- Complete IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.
- Continue to file your tax return, even if by paper.
Source: CPA Tax & Compliance Advisor email published by CPA Practice Advisor.