Social Security Numbers Stolen From All Independence School Employees

Feb 27, 2017

The Independence School District says the personal information of all of its employees, including those at Van Horn High School, has been stolen in a phishing scam.
Credit Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

A major data breach is being investigated in the Independence School District.

The school district employees were alerted to the scam in an email sent last Thursday.

In it, the business office says “the names, social security numbers, addresses and earnings” of every employee was stolen in a phishing scam, where the crooks use fake emails or websites to steal personal information.

The information was used to file fraudulent income tax returns, according to the email.

A fraud investigation is underway by the FBI and the Independence Police Department.

The district urged those who received a letter from the IRS saying their social security number was used to file a fraudulent return to file their own police complaint.

Police say as of Monday at least 15 district employees have done so.

According to the police report filed by the district the scam happened on Jan. 20th. It was reported to IPD a month later.

"Upon learning of the issue, our school district team promptly began an investigation, notified law enforcement, engaged cybersecurity professionals to assist us, and took steps to prevent further unauthorized access," according to the email.

The IRS says phishing scams top the list of tax scams this year as it did last year.

Repeated calls to the Independence School District were not returned.

Sam Zeff covers education for KCUR and the Kansas News Service and is host of the political podcast Statehouse Blend Kansas. Follow him on Twitter @SamZeff.