Saturday, February 27, 2016
Wall Street Journal, IRS Says Cyberattacks on Taxpayer Accounts More Extensive Than Previously Reported:
The Internal Revenue Service said Friday that more than twice as many taxpayer accounts may have been hit by cybercriminals than the agency previously reported, with hackers gaining access to as many as 724,000 accounts and attempting to break into an additional 575,000.
The disclosure is the second revision by the IRS in the last six months and comes as Americans are preparing their tax returns for 2015.
Last August, the IRS said cybercrooks used stolen Social Security numbers and other data to gain access to taxpayer information for as many as 334,000 accounts, up from a number of 114,000 announced in May 2015.
The hackers targeted “Get Transcript,” an IRS application that allowed taxpayers to obtain tax return information for prior years, but not the main IRS database. Such information is valuable for thieves who hope to make false returns appear more legitimate and evade antifraud filters. ...
One prominent lawmaker, U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, (R., Utah) called the new IRS breach revelations “deeply concerning.” The Senate Finance Committee Chairman said, “Taxpayers deserve better from the IRS, but sadly we are reminded time and again of the agency’s incompetence.”
An IRS official said the newly revised numbers reflect the findings of an audit by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, which is an agency watchdog. ...
The IRS said in a statement that it is “moving aggressively” to protect the additional taxpayers from tax identity theft. It is notifying by mail both the taxpayers whose accounts may have been accessed and those whose transcripts were targeted but not accessed. The mailings will begin Feb. 29.