220,000 more taxpayers’ records hit by IRS Get Transcript breach

In May, I blogged about criminals defrauding the IRS of some $50 million by submitting false tax returns via its Get Transcript application. At the time, it was estimated that the criminals had gained access to 100,000 taxpayers’ returns by using personal information stolen in other data breaches to answer the IRS app’s security questions.

Now, the IRS has revised its estimate of the number of taxpayers affected by May’s incident, adding another 220,000 to the total.

In a statement released yesterday, the IRS said that, following the incident’s discovery, it ‘conducted an extensive review covering the 2015 filing season to assess whether other suspicious activity occurred. Following this review, the IRS has identified more questionable attempts to obtain transcripts using sensitive information already in the hands of criminals. […] The IRS will begin mailing letters in the next few days to about 220,000 taxpayers where there were instances of possible or potential access to “Get Transcript” taxpayer account information.’

There is also the possibility that more victims will be affected – the IRS believes that criminals intend to submit fraudulent tax returns for the 2016 filing season.

The Get Transcript app was shut down in May.

Best-practice cybersecurity

If your organization collects, holds, or processes customer information, it needs to keep it safe. If you suffer a data breach then the information you lose can be used to facilitate further criminal activity – and, vice versa, data breaches elsewhere can affect your organization.

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