KINGMAN – Tax season is a prime target for identity thieves and Mohave Community College may have suffered a direct hit.
In a letter from MCC President Michael Kearns dated Feb. 3, he warned employees to be on the lookout as a data file containing information about 2016 W-2 forms was inadvertently released as the result of a phishing scam a college employee received in a fraudulent email address listed in Kearns’ name.
“There was a breach,” said MCC Executive Vice President James Malm. “We are concerned about our employees.”
He didn’t release too much information to prevent compromising the investigation but said MCC has since purchased online identity protection software for willing employees. General students won’t be affected but student employees should be aware.
The school has since notified the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office, The Arizona Attorney General’s Office, FBI, IRS and the Arizona State Retirement System. They’ve also quarantined the computer involved, inspected their computer network and are keeping an eye out for other fraud attempts.
Kearns said the school is not aware of any misuse of personal information and warn people to check on their credit reports and bank accounts for any suspicious activity.
IRS W-2 forms contain sensitive personal information such as social security numbers that could be used to open false accounts. Kearns told employees to file a police report if they’re victimized by identity theft.
“I’m sorry the criminals were able to steal this information,” Malm said. “We’re doing everything in our power to keep our employees safe.”
To contact Malm with questions on the matter, he can be reached at 928-715-2627 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.