WASHINGTON - Even the Internet Revenue Service isn't safe from hackers' prying eyes.
The IRS said Tuesday that thieves used an online service provided by the agency to gain access to information from more than 100,000 taxpayers. The information included tax returns and other tax information on file with the IRS.
In a statement Tuesday, the IRS said the thieves accessed a system called "Get Transcript." In order to access the information, the thieves cleared a security screen that required knowledge about the taxpayer, including the Social Security number, date of birth, tax filing status and street address.
The IRS said its Criminal Investigation unit and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is investing the matter.
The IRS said thieves targeted the system from February to mid-May. About 200,000 attempts in total were made to access taxpayer data. The agency said it will notify these taxpayers of the incident. The attack did not involve its main computer system for submitting tax returns, the IRS said.
"The IRS emphasizes this incident involves one application involving transcripts -- it does not involve other IRS systems, such as our core taxpayer accounts or other applications, such as Where's My Refund," the agency said.
Tax returns can include a host of personal information that can help someone steal an identity, including Social Security numbers and birthdates of dependents and spouses.
The IRS said it will provide free credit monitoring services to taxpayers whose accounts were compromised.