In May 2015, the IRS announced that their “Get Transcript” application was accessed by criminals, putting many taxpayers’ accounts at risk. The application, which allowed taxpayers to have the option of viewing and downloading their tax transcript, was temporarily shut down as the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration conducted a nine-month long investigation looking back to the launch of the application in January 2014.
The review discovered that additional suspicious attempts have been made to access taxpayer accounts using sensitive information already in the hands of criminals. The IRS is now reporting that approximately 390,000 additional taxpayer accounts from the period of January 2014-May 2015 may have been accessed. In addition, 295,000 taxpayer transcripts were targeted but access was not successful.
The IRS is notifying all taxpayers effected by the breach via mail, and have taken additional steps to protect these taxpayers from identity theft, including:
- Informing taxpayers whose transcripts were accessed that they can request an Identity Protect PIN by completing a Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit. An IP PIN provides an additional layer of protection for the taxpayer’s SSN on the federal tax return.
- Offering taxpayers whose returns were accessed a free Equifax identity theft protection product for one year, and encouraging taxpayers to place a “fraud alert” on their credit accounts.
- Placing extra scrutiny on tax returns with taxpayers’ SSNs.
- Placing special markers on these taxpayer accounts to advise IRS assistors that the caller is part of this event.
For more information regarding the incident, read the full IRS statement here.
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