The Internal Revenue Service confirmed Tuesday a data breach, with the identities of 100,000 taxpayers stolen. But these ID thieves already knew the Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address of victims.
The IRS reports that the sophisticated hack was done to claim fraudulent tax refunds.
The IRS computer system was accessed through its “Get Transcript” feature that allows taxpayers to access returns from previous years. The feature was accessed from February to mid-May. It has now been shut down.
"We're confident that these are not amateurs," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen according to the Associated Press. "These actually are organized crime syndicates that not only we but everybody in the financial industry are dealing with."
The IRS has launched an investigation, and Congress is demanding a briefing on the data breach.
The agency estimates it paid out $5.8 billion in fraudulent refunds to identity thieves in 2013.
The IRS is notifying taxpayers impacted by the breach.