FBI Opening Investigation Into IRS Breach That Affected 100,000 Taxpayers

After the news yesterday that the Internal Revenue Service reportedly suspects Russian identity thieves were behind a breach that allowed thieves to access information for approximately 100,000 taxpayers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation says it’s now investigating the incident.

The FBI is looking into the theft of tax return information swiped from the IRS, with a spokesman saying today that agents are working to determine the “nature and scope” of the theft, reports the Wall Street Journal, urging anyone who suspects they might be victims of identity theft to contact authorities.

“The compromise of government systems and theft of taxpayer data are taken very seriously, and the FBI and IRS will aggressively pursue and hold accountable those responsible for this recent incident,” the FBI spokesman said.

The IRS said yesterday that thieves used the agency’s online services to get their hands on prior-year tax return information, by taking advantage of those questions necessary to gain access to personal transcripts.

For example, you might be familiar with answering things like, “Which of these streets have you not lived on?” That kind of information can be gathered pretty easily by thieves with a hankering for stolen data and access to Equifax credit reports, as security blogger Brian Krebs pointed out.

FBI to Investigate Internal Revenue Data Breach [Wall Street Journal]

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