W-2 tax documents for all Redmond School District employees were stolen Friday in an electronic data breach, affecting more than 1,000 people.
A districtwide email was sent Monday to notify employees of the breach. Superintendent Mike McIntosh said police have been notified and are investigating.
According to the internal email, a scammer impersonating McIntosh requested via email W-2s for all employees, and received them Friday via email. The documents contain employees’ names, social security numbers, mailing addresses, wages and tax-withholding information.
McIntosh said employees have expressed fear and worry about the repercussions.
“I certainly experienced the same emotion, because most of us have never been through this,” he said.
McIntosh said the name of the scammer showed up in an inbox as “Mike McIntosh” but the email address was not the same as his.
“My email address is @redmondschools.org, so anything different than that is something to be suspicious of,” McIntosh said.
He would not specify to whom the scammer’s email was sent.
McIntosh said there are no leads as to who the scammer is, or whether it’s someone at the school district, someone in the country or a foreigner.
McIntosh would not comment on whether the request was made to all employees individually, or if it was to an individual with access to that information. Regardless, the request was out of the ordinary.
“I would probably have the authority as superintendent (to access employees’ tax information), but it is not a common thing that I would ask for,” he said.
The email sent Monday outlines steps employees should take to mitigate the damage, such as contacting federal credit bureaus, banks and credit card companies. It also suggests changing passwords for online banking and implementing two-step verification processes wherever possible. It suggests employees file their 2016 tax returns as soon as possible to prevent the opportunity for the scammer to file a fraudulent one.
He said the district is looking at providing credit-monitoring services for employees, but can only do so much to repair the damage.
“What can’t go understated is the fact that as unfortunate as it is … we as a district can’t do everything for my staff,” McIntosh said.
McIntosh said he generally estimates the district has 850 employees, but when considering sports coaches and those who retired in 2016, he believes the breach will affect more than 1,000.
McIntosh said the district has done a good job teaching employees to be on guard for scammers and spam email but that this is an opportunity for a learning experience. He asked for “grace from those who want to point fingers.”
“My wish is that we are viewed as people who are doing everything in our power to right a wrong,” he said.
— Reporter: 541-383-0376, email@example.com