March 20, 2017
NOTICE OF DATA BREACH
We are contacting you concerning a data breach that has occurred at Powhatan County Public Schools. A couple of hours ago a payroll employee responded to an Email Phishing Scam requesting employees’ W-2 forms. I was notified of this breach of data within the hour and we immediately began the process of notifying authorities and investigating steps to protect each of you. We sincerely apologize for this data security breach and the inconvenience that it may cause you and your family.
The data file that was sent to the perpetrators of this fraud included the W-2 forms of each employee. These forms include information such as Social Security Numbers, Address, Wages and Taxes, and Gross Income.
IMMEDIATE STEPS TAKEN TO PROTECT EMPLOYEES
We immediately filed notice of the data breach with the IRS, the Federal Trade Commission, local police, and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. We are also investigating credit monitoring and/or identity theft restoration services for our employees at no charge. More information will be available about these services as soon as we have details.
STEPS YOU SHOULD TAKE
We recommend that you place a fraud alert on your credit file. A fraud alert tells creditors to contact you before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts. Call any one of the three major credit bureaus. As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts. The initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for 90 days. You can renew it after 90 days.
Equifax: equifax.com (link is external) or 1-800-525-6285
Experian: experian.com (link is external) or 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion: transunion.com (link is external) or 1-800-680-7289
Request that all three credit reports be sent to you, free of charge, for your review. Even if you do not find any suspicious activity on your initial credit reports, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you check your credit reports periodically. Thieves may hold stolen information to use at different times. Checking your credit reports periodically can help you spot problems and address them quickly.
If you find suspicious activity on your credit reports or have reason to believe your information is being misused, file a police report. Get a copy of the police report; you may need it to clear up the fraudulent debts.
If your personal information has been misused, visit the FTC’s site at IdentityTheft.gov to get recovery steps and to file an identity theft complaint. Your complaint will be added to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, where it will be accessible to law enforcers for their investigations.
You also may want to consider contacting the major credit bureaus at the telephone numbers above to place a credit freeze on your credit file. A credit freeze means potential creditors cannot get your credit report. That makes it less likely that an identify thief can open new accounts in your name. The cost to place and lift a freeze depends on state law. Find your state Attorney General’s office at naag.org (link is external) to learn more.
We have enclosed a copy of Identity Theft: A Recovery Plan, a comprehensive guide from the FTC to help you guard against and deal with identity theft. We’ve also attached information from IdentityTheft.gov about steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft, depending on the type of information exposed.
We will be providing three Q&A sessions where we will be available to answer questions that you may have.
1) March 20th at 3:15 pm – PHS Auditorium
2) March 20th at 4:15 pm – PHS Auditorium
3) March 21st at 8:00 am – PHS Auditorium
If you have additional questions please contact Larry Johns at 598-5700 ext. 138.
We will notify you as soon as we have identified a provider for credit monitoring and/or identify theft restoration services.
Eric L. Jones