University of Minnesota Faculty Worried about Tax Fraud

Published On: 15th July 2015

From the internet

A number of University of Minnesota faculty members are worried that their personal information was used to commit tax fraud. Now an investigation has been initiated due to the possible data breach.

One professor said that approximately half of the faculty members in his department alone were not able to file their income taxes online. He cited a number of other faculty members in another department as well. However, the University said they were not able to identify that a data breach had happened within their networks.

When the professors went to file their taxes online for the 2014 tax season, a message appeared to them on the IRS website that someone had already filed returns using their social security numbers and their names. As the weeks passed, more faculty members reported not being able to file their taxes online.

The Chief Information Security Officer of the University stated that he found no specific targeting toward University faculty members. In fact, his investigation uncovered no breach at all involving University systems.

However, human resources relayed to the faculty what the Chief Information Officer found and that there was no breach in the University system, but that their situation was due to an act of random criminal activity that apparently led to the theft of faculty information. This theft resulted in fraudulently filed income tax returns.

One faculty member refuses to believe that it wasn’t a data breach targeting the University because of how many individuals were affected in specific departments within the same institution. It was not random.

Some say that they are not pleased with how the University has responded to the incident because of the fact they all are within just two departments. Faculty still hasn’t received a clear response from administrators regarding the matter months after awareness of the matter came about.

The IRS reported that criminals stole the personal information of taxpayers, such as social security numbers, in order to gain access to approximately 100,000 taxpayer accounts in 2014.

What the criminals do with that information is use it to file the fraudulent tax returns in hope that they will receive the tax refunds. The Minnesota Department of Revenue sees this often, but not quite as often as the IRS does. Even if the fraudsters don’t receive the tax refunds, filing a tax return can be quite difficult for the real taxpayer because the flags go up.

As for the solution for the affected faculty at the University of Minnesota, they are hoping to have answers soon. Even if they resolve their tax return issue this year, they could still face problems in the future until the fraudsters are caught. They could also face further identity theft matters, such as credit cards being taken out in their names.