Identity Thieves Breached IRS Computer Systems, Agency Says
Automated attack last month sought e-file PINs for individual taxpayersBy Laura Saunders and Richard Rubin, WSJ
Updated Feb. 9, 2016 8:33 p.m. ET
The Internal Revenue Service said Tuesday that it identified an automated attack on its computer systems aimed at getting information that could be used to steal tax refunds.
The agency said identity thieves last month used personal data of taxpayers that was stolen elsewhere in an attempt to generate e-file personal identification numbers to file fraudulent returns and claim tax refunds.
E-file PINs are used by some individuals to file their tax returns. The numbers are different from Identity Protection PINs, which the IRS gives victims of tax ID theft to protect them from future issues.
The agency said it identified unauthorized attempts to obtain e-file PINs for 464,000 Social Security numbers, of which 101,000 successfully accessed an e-file PIN.
No personal taxpayer data was disclosed by IRS systems, the agency said. The IRS is notifying affected taxpayers by mail that their personal information was used by criminals. The IRS said it is protecting their accounts against tax ID theft.