MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Bloomington School District’s 1,800 employees are dealing with a case of fraud this weekend.
Someone got ahold of the federal W-2 tax forms from all of the district’s employees.
The district believes the information was obtained with the intent of filing fraudulent tax returns.
Bloomington School District’s 1,800 employees were warned late Friday night about the breach.
A letter from the director of human resources posted on the district’s website explained what happened.
It said: “An unknown and unauthorized individual illegally acquired the personal and financial information of our employees that is contained on the Federal W-2 Tax Form. We believe this information may have been obtained with the intent to file fraudulent tax returns.”
“Simply take your W-2 information and put their name on it,” said Jakessa Johnson.
Johnson, owner of JJD Tax Service, says she has seen an increase in cases of tax fraud.
In the past five years, Johnson says the U.S. has lost more than $1 billion because of fraudulent tax forms.
“People are out there, they’re hacking and they’re seeing who they can break into,” Johnson said.
Johnson says in this case, the Bloomington School District is giving great advice to its employees to protect their personal and financial interests.
“They are encouraging them to call the identity theft assistance line, they’re encouraging them to go onto the IRS.gov website and request that IP pin number,” said Johnson.
Johnson says that six digit number is the best way to protect yourself against fraud.
“Get that pin number right away because that pin number is only unique for them and it gets sent directly to them, it goes nowhere else,” Johnson said.
Johnson says that number is needed to file your tax return, without it, a thief could not get what is owed to you.
Bloomington Schools have filed complaints with the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and the U.S. Homeland Security’s Computer Emergency Readiness Center.
It is taking further steps to protect district data and information.
Bloomington police are also involved in what is being called an active investigation.
The district is providing its employees with one year of free personal security protection.