The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced Tuesday that a brute force hacking attempt has compromised approximately 104,000 taxpayer accounts through the utilization of the “Get Transcript” tool located on IRS.gov. 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. “It is important to understand less than one half of one percent of successful requests were fraudulent,” said Aaron Blau, a Certified Public Accountant and Enrolled Agent. “These 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,’ they already had it.”
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 an 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.
Taxpayers can look to Enrolled Agents to assist in this process. Enrolled Agents are federally licensed tax practitioners who are overseen by the Department of the Treasury. The Blau Company, Ltd. has three EAs on staff to serve you!