The Archdiocese of Seattle has issued an urgent warning after hackers hit one of its databases, stealing confidential information regarding up to 90,0000 employees and volunteers at parishes, schools and agencies throughout the archdiocese.
The hackers have used personal information, including names and Social Security numbers, to file fax tax returns. Already more than a dozen victims in the Chancery office and parish offices have learned that fraudulent tax returns were filed in their names; it is not yet known whether the thieves have been successful in getting any returns.
The FBI and IRS are investigating. The archdiocese, upon learning of the security breach on Tuesday, March 10, immediately sent out letters to all potential victims. They have also hired a security firm to assist with the investigation.
Following the security breach, archdiocesan communications director Greg Magnoni is encouraging all employees and volunteers to call the IRS or to go on-line to check their tax returns. Identity theft victims are advised to contact the IRS’s Identity Protection Specialized Unit and report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission.
If you think your information may have been compromised, contact the IRS by phone at 1.800.829.1040 or go online to http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Get-Transcript.