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Hackers Use IRS Data Retrieval Tool To Steal Millions

The IRS and the Department of Education announced that the IRS Data Retrieval Tool was taken offline in late March after a possible breach until extra security protections could be put in place. Testifying before the Senate Finance Committee, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen said that the information of as many as 100,000 taxpayers may have been compromised in a security breach of the IRS' Data Retrieval Tool, which is used to automatically populate tax information when applying for federal student aid online.

Koskinen testified that identity thieves stole more than $30 million from the IRS by using the tool to file fraudulent tax returns. Once the IRS identified suspicious activity, the agency put a halt on over 52,000 refunds until it can verify that these are legitimate requests.

The IRS is aware of the fact that some of the FAFSA applications that were flagged for suspicious activity are legitimate, but the agency needs to complete its investigation before they can be reinstated. Koskinen went on to say that the IRS outright blocked an additional 14,000 other phony tax refunds.

The fallout from the breach is that the application process is much slower now because students must fill out the standard FAFSA form and manually submit a copy of their tax return until the IRS Data Retrieval Tool comes back online in the fall. The good news is that parents and students can still access FAFSA and Income-Driven Repayment plan applications online.  

Despite the fact that an ongoing criminal investigation into the breach is currently underway, the IRS said that it is still trying to determine the size and scope of the attack.

  • 3ogdy
    Da plan:
    1. Work for the IRS.
    2. Steal $30 million.
    3. Blame it on a security breach.
    4. Invest your cash wisely and enjoy your life.

    Oh, I forgot: scream as loud as you can, at the top of your lungs that there has been a breach and "Oh my gosh, Oh my God, Jesus Christ, they stole $30 million, but no worries, we are investigating the matter because we're serious people."
    Reply
  • ddpruitt
    This bullshit of keeping IRS resources below the bare minimum has to stop. If the IRS has the money and staff to update their systems and actively participate in their own security this thing wouldn't happen so often. Because the US government likes to shit on the most effective department they have my FAFSA will now take forever to process.
    Reply
  • ubercake
    Do we need the IRS? They're another data vulnerability in a government well behind the times. Just take what taxes I need to pay out of every paycheck and be done with it.
    Reply
  • MASOUTH
    How exactly do you think Uncle Sam gets those taxes out of your paycheck? How do you expect them to collect from people who are not wage earners that are issued a W2?

    Pro tip: They don't. You pay them or your boss withholds them to give to the IRS on your behalf. There are a LOT of contractors/companies/bosses out there that do not turn that money over. THAT is where the IRS comes in.
    Reply
  • JohnMD1022
    "This bullshit of keeping IRS resources below the bare minimum has to stop. If the IRS has the money and staff to update their systems and actively participate in their own security this thing wouldn't happen so often. Because the US government likes to shit on the most effective department they have my FAFSA will now take forever to process."

    This is the outfit that was withholding approval of legitimate non-profits, don't forger.

    Like every other Obama regime department, it was politicized and used against the American people.
    Reply
  • Ergosum
    "Legitimate non-profits" being the barely legal dodge of a political action committee, sure.
    Reply
  • surphninja
    19538342 said:
    This bullshit of keeping IRS resources below the bare minimum has to stop. If the IRS has the money and staff to update their systems and actively participate in their own security this thing wouldn't happen so often. Because the US government likes to shit on the most effective department they have my FAFSA will now take forever to process.

    Agreed, but it wouldn't have come to this if the Dems hadn't been using the IRS for political reasons. They have only themselves to blame.
    Reply