Groton school employees at risk for identity theft after compute - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Groton school employees at risk for identity theft after computer hoax

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

Authorities are investigating after personal information of Groton school employees was released to a person posing as the school superintendent as part of a phishing scam on Wednesday.

Groton Superintendent of Schools Michael Graner told Eyewitness News the district fell victim to a computer hoax, where someone posing as him had requested W2s of all the public schools employees.

Graner said the business office unfortunately released the information. On Friday, Graner told Eyewitness News the Business Manager Don Meltabarger was placed on leave until the investigation was completed. 

While Graner said the school computer system wasn't breached from the outside, they are taking precautions to protect all 1,363 employees.

"The district is in the process of contacting all affected personnel and has arranged for credit monitoring services at no expense to the employees," Graner said. 

The superintendent said the school district is working with local police, FBI and “have taken steps to provide credit monitoring for all the affected employees" and determine who sent out the W2s. 

"At this stage we are at the very infancy of the investigation obviously it just came in. Some of these things can be broad reaching," Town of Groton Police Deputy Chief Paul Gately said. 

The I.R.S. notified school districts and many organizations and businesses around the country about this ongoing scams trying to obtain sensitive W2 tax forms. Garner answered how he felt about this intrusion. 

"First thing when I spoke to the chairman I was greatly relieved, she directed me to contact consumer protection credit monitoring service. We have in fact purchased that."

But this isn't the first attempted of a breach in Groton Town. Groton Town Manager Mark Oefinger confirmed to Eyewitness News that there was attempt to gain tax forms authored by a phony email allegedly from him that took place on Feb. 8. Oefinger added that the staff knew it was fake. 

But, the school districts case said they are treating very serious.

"I'm sure we are going to be scrutinizing our policies and procedures to make sure that it doesn't happen again," Kim Shepardson Watson, who is the chair of the board of education, said. 

An employee told Eyewitness News that district leaders instructed victims to visit credit websites to protect themselves, but said employees will have to pay for the security out of pocket. 

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