Northwestern College Employees Are Victims of Phishing

W2 graphicOrange City, Iowa — A few days ago we told you that an Orange City employer’s employees’ W2 forms had been compromised.

We have now learned that another Orange City employer fell victim to a similar scheme.

Duane Beeson, the Director of Public Relations at Northwestern College in Orange City says they fell victim to an email phishing scheme. He says it was a sophisticated operation, and one that made national news.

Beeson says on Tuesday, February 7th, copies of their employees’ W2 forms were sent to an unknown party. Beeson says this only affected regular employees, not student employees, such as work study.

He says the email looks very official and appears to come from someone internal. According to Beeson, the email seemed to have come from a legitimate person on staff, who should have access to the W2 forms. The email asks for copies of the employees’ W2 forms to be sent to them in an email reply. He says that’s how the forms were sent outside of Northwestern.

He says the college has taken a number of steps to stop any possible fraud and help to apprehend the responsible party. He says they contacted the Orange City Police, the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center, and the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. He says the IRS has a form that you can fill out if you’ve been a victim of such a crime.

Beeson says the college has also been in constant communication with employees, giving them advice and recommending steps to take. He says they have facilitated two forums for employees, and have encouraged them to contact the business office with specific questions.

He says they have offered affected employees free credit monitoring. He says they’ve also suggested employees put a fraud alert on all credit records and notify their financial institutions.

Beeson says Northwestern regrets the situation, and they apologize to their employees.

The IRS says the scheme uses the cover of the tax season and W-2 filings to try to trick people into sharing personal data. They recommend that if your CEO appears to be emailing you for a list of company employees, check it out before you respond.