August 17, 2018
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Scammer steals Waldo County employee tax forms

Lane Erickson | Dreamstime | TNS
Lane Erickson | Dreamstime | TNS
Personal information, including Social Security numbers, for about 100 Waldo County employees was compromised during a phishing scam.
By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff
Updated:

BELFAST, Maine — Someone impersonating a Waldo County official managed to gain possession of copies of W2s as part of a phishing scheme, compromising the personal information of about 100 county employees.

“I know people are going to be worried,” William Shorey, chairman of the county commissioners, said in a Wednesday news release. “At Waldo County, we’re doing everything within our means to make the situation better. We sincerely regret that this has happened and offer our apologies as we continue to work to remedy and address the incident.”

The breach only affected people employed directly by the county, not other residents of the county or people who work for other entities within the county.

[The Point: How cyber thieves trade your birthday for profit in a part of the internet you can’t find]

The scammer, posing as a county official, sent an email to a county employee requesting the tax forms. The unidentified county employee sent the forms before county administrators realized that the real official hadn’t requested the information. The W2s included Social Security numbers, payroll information and addresses.

County leaders notified employees of the breach in a letter on Wednesday. The letter includes details about how to monitor and prevent identity theft, in the event someone does try to use their personal information fraudulently.

After realizing the fraud, county officials contacted their attorney and launched a “rapid response plan,” according to Shorey.

On Wednesday, the county notified the sheriff’s office, Maine attorney general’s office and the FBI, and then county employees. The sheriff’s office also was affected by the breach.

Now that the breach has been identified, Maine Revenue Services will be monitoring tax accounts of the affected employees, looking for signs of any fraudulent returns. Employees could also request an IRS personal identification number to help prevent fraudulent returns. If a fake tax return has already been filed, employees can fill out a Form 14039 to claim identity theft.

They can also freeze their credit by calling all three credit agencies — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — or place a 90-day credit alert. The county says it will cover the costs of credit-monitoring services for the affected employees.

For more information on how to combat identity theft, visit the Maine attorney general’s website.

Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.

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