Ball State University is working with the IRS, the FTC, the Indiana attorney general and the Indiana Department of Revenue after recently being made aware that at least 80 of its employees have become victims of tax return fraud.
According to The Indianapolis Star, among those whose identities were stolen include an associate vice president, a dean, assistant deans, assistant department chairs, directors and other senior officials across multiple departments
Additionally, numerous members of faculty have filed reports regarding possibly identity theft, however other than a few office coordinators, no clerical/maintenance/union/non-professional staff have currently filed police reports.
“They don’t have enough money,” said Delaware County police Lt. Greg Ellison.
A few employees found out that they had become victims of tax return fraud after receiving prepaid debit cards in the mail that were already drained by the cyber criminals.
Assistant professor of public relations and one of the victims, Becky McDonald, said she received a GreenDot prepaid card in the mail but didn’t think anything of it. It was only after she double checked her tax filing transcript through the IRS that she realized a fraudulent tax return had been filed.
According to information released by the Indiana Attorney General, receiving a prepaid debit card can be a warning sign of identity theft.
Meanwhile, two local physicians, one on the payroll at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, and the other a local senior home health specialist, Gary Brossart, also filed police reports stating that fake tax returns had been filed on their behalf.
Brossart believes the identity thefts are connected to a recent data breach suffered by Anthem, which is the health care company that covers Ball State employees (both at the university and hospital) as well as Brossart.
Anthem released a statement that there is no evidence correlating the recent cyber attack on Anthem to the tax fraud schemes at Ball State.
On the other hand, Ball State University officials have asserted that have launching internal investigations of their systems, no security breach have been revealed. “We continue to monitor the network and systems, and we’ve not detected evidence of malicious activity suggesting a breach,” says Loren Malm, associate vice president for information technology.
Ball State University has launched a new identity theft information line to provide assistance to employees who have questions or concerns about identity theft. Additionally, the university has created an online information page that can help Ball State employees learn how to protect themselves from identity theft at bsu.edu/idtheft.
For more information about protecting yourself from identity theft, visit the National Crime Prevention Council. If you believe that you may already be a victim of identity theft, make sure to monitor your credit report, bank statements and credit card statements for any suspicious activities. Additionally, you should consider doing a background check on yourself to ensure that the identity thieves haven’t used your identity for any malicious activities.