Thieves hacked into an Internal Revenue Serviceonline service and gained access to information from more than 100,000 taxpayer accounts, the agency said Tuesday.
The criminals used personal data obtained from other sources, including Social Security numbers, street addresses and dates of birth, to get into the IRS “Get Transcript” service. The service has been temporarily shut down.
The thieves gained access to tax returns and other tax information on file with the IRS. The IRS’ main computer system that handles tax filings wasn’t compromised.
The IRS said in a statement that the hack occurred from February through mid-May. The IRS first detected unusual activity last week.
The hackers got in by taking information about taxpayers they’d acquired from other sources and using it to correctly answer several personal identity verification questions in the IRS’ “Get Transcript” application, the IRS said in a statement.
This allowed them to get information about tax accounts through the application. The information stolen included Social Security information, date of birth and street address.
The Get Transcript application allows users to view their tax account transactions, line-by-line tax return information or wage and income reported to the IRS for a specific tax year. It was used to securely retrieve approximately 23 million taxpayer transcripts last year, the IRS said.