LEXINGTON, NC (WBTV) - A compromise of one local school system's employee financial records is now under investigation.
"It was an internal request for information about tax information," said Sheriff David Grice of Davidson County. "W-2's for employees. W-2 information was forwarded to this address. This is an extremely elaborate kind of a scam. It's one of those unfortunate things for people. The employee was under the impression that it was an internal request from the superintendent."
According to a press release from the Davidson County Schools in Lexington, NC, system officials learned on Tuesday night that sensitive personal information, including social security numbers of employees and independent contractors had been breached during the scam.
The release noted that the same scam targeted school districts across the country using the names of school officials.
"The confidentiality of our employees' and partners' information is of utmost importance and we apologize for this criminal activity committed by an unknown third party and the inconvenience it has caused to all the individuals impacted," the release said. "We will continue to work closely with law enforcement and outside agencies as they continue to investigate this matter. Additional procedures will be implemented to prevent any similar future occurrences."
Ken Ingle is the Chief of Information Services for Rowan-Cabarrus Community College. He says these types of scams are very common.
"They can spoof that address and make it appear as though it's the person actual address, it's not an uncommon thing," Ingle said. "Anytime someone is sending you a message asking for that type of information, pick up the phone and verify, call and verify, say you know this seems odd to send over email, are you sure that this is how you want it?"
The biggest issue for these workers would be the possibility of identity theft, according to Ingle
"If they get the right piece of information, things like social security number or address, then their identity can be stolen, credit cards can be opened in their name, other identity theft common challenges can occur," Ingle added.
The school system is taking steps to try and help employees, according to the statement.
"As a precaution, for those individuals affected by this incident, we have arranged for Equifax to protect your identity for 12 months at no cost to you. The cost of this service will be paid for by Davidson County Board of Education."
Any suspected identity theft should be reported immediately to the Davidson County Sheriff's Department at (336) 242-2100 and the North Carolina Attorney General's Office at 1-877-566-7226.