• US stock market daily report (August 18, 2015, Tuesday)

    Nearly 114,000 U.S. taxpayers had their tax return information illegally accessed by cyber criminals during May 2015 as well as, over the preceding four months, according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Using the "Get Transcript" online application from the IRS's website, criminals sought to gain access to personal tax information. The program - which was shut down in May after the attack - allowed taxpayers to call up information from previous returns.

    During the cyber attack on the IRS, the hackers attempted to access another 111,000 taxpayers returns, to no avail.

    As a result of the breach, some 15,000 fraudulent returns were processed in the 2015 tax filing season, likely resulting in refunds of less than $50 million, per the IRS.

    The IRS said in a statement, "The IRS believes some of this information may have been gathered for potentially filing fraudulent tax returns during the upcoming 2016 filing season."

    On Monday, the IRS said the hacking of one of their databases was much more extensive than previously thought, with nearly three times as many taxpayers hit by data theft. The agency said upon a new review, they identified an additional 220,000 incidents where data was breached. Additionally, they identified another 170,000 suspected failed attempts by hackers, to gain access to taxpayer data.

    In the next few days the IRS plans to start mailing letters to taxpayers whose accounts may have been accessed, offering them free credit monitoring and a new personal identification number to verify the authenticity of next year's tax returns.

    Contributed by Millennium Traders
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