March 7, 2014
Dear Faculty and Staff:
The university and external agencies continue to work on the issues associated with the fraudulent tax filings and related identity theft crimes.
If you receive a check or debit card in the mail related to a tax refund, which was not filed by you, please provide these items to the UNI Police in Gilchrist 30. They will provide you a receipt and forward the item to the IRS investigation team. You should maintain this documentation in case the IRS requests these funds from you later.
If you have not filed your taxes yet, consider doing so sooner rather than later.
One method of protecting your financial security and avoiding fraudulent accounts from being opened is to freeze your credit report at the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). If you have filed a police report about your situation, there is no charge for this service. Additional information is available on each credit bureaus website.
I want to inform you about two information sessions regarding this situation:
An Open Forum will be held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 11, in the Old Central Ballroom in Maucker Union to address questions related to the IRS/identify theft situation. I am scheduled to participate on the panel as well as Shashi Kaparthi, UNI Chief Information Officer; Jim Davis, ISU Chief Information Officer; Paul Gray, faculty member in the UNI computer science department; and Tom Kunz, tax partner with Bergan Paulsen.
On Wednesday, March 12, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is bringing in an educational expert on identity theft and what victims (or potential victims) can do to secure their identity and financial information. The presentation will be offered three different times: 9 a.m., noon and 5 p.m., all in Maucker Union, Ballroom C. The presenter will take questions after each session.
The university will continue to disseminate information as appropriate and as allowed by investigating agencies. If you have specific questions, please call the UNI information line at 273-5700. Information is also available on the website at uni.edu/tax-advisory.
Vice President, Administration and Financial Services
March 3, 2014
Dear Faculty and Staff:
As you are likely aware, it appears personal information about faculty and staff is being used fraudulently to file false tax returns. We are not aware of similar circumstances regarding students. The university continues to investigate potential sources of how this information was obtained. We have engaged the services of a national information security firm to assist with reviewing university systems. As mentioned in a previous email, data security is of the utmost importance at UNI and the university utilizes many complex encryption protocols at multiple levels to protect sensitive data. There continues to be no evidence that a university system has been compromised.
In recent news, national retailers and other universities are also being victimized by the aggressive malice of criminals. I share the serious concern of many of you that UNI employees have fallen victim to such actions. The university has notified and is fully cooperating with federal, state and local authorities. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is actively investigating this issue. In addition, staff have communicated with other organizations that we know may have legitimate access to protected information (i.e., Wellmark, Delta Dental, TIAA-CREF, IPERS, etc). Some of those organizations have heightened security measures to help protect UNI employees.
I strongly encourage all faculty and staff, regardless of the first letter of your last name, to:
- Contact the IRS to determine if you have been affected. You can reach the IRS at (800) 908-4490, ext 245. The unit office is open Monday – Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Whether you have been affected or not, and whether your taxes have successfully been filed or not, I encourage you to follow all these steps.
- If you have been affected, please contact the UNI special information line at 273-5700. Previously, the payroll manager’s number was provided. However, to allow for better time management, please call 273-5700. Also, contact your local police to file a report.
- Consider notifying the IRS you are an actual or potential victim of identity theft. Go to the IRS website at www.irs.gov and type “14039” in the search box. Download, complete and submit the Identity Theft Affidavit form to the IRS.
- Begin the complimentary one-year credit monitoring provided by UNI’s vendor. This service monitors all three credit bureaus. Additional information was sent in an email last week and is available on the UNI website.
- Stay current with announcements from UNI on the issue. Information is posted at http://uni.edu/tax-advisory.
- Educate yourself regarding identity theft. Two good websites are the IRS at www.irs.gov and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consumer site www.consumer.ftc.gov. Search for identity theft on either site. The FTC has a link on the main page to report identity theft.
- The feelings of violation from something like this happening to you are normal. If you would like to confidentially visit with someone about your situation, the university’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available at no cost to you. More information, including a toll free number, is available at www.vpaf.uni.edu/hrs/eap. Names of who contact EAP are never shared with UNI.
The university will continue to disseminate information as appropriate and as allowed by the IRS and other investigating agencies. If you have specific questions, please call the UNI information line at 273-5700.
Vice President, Administration and Financial Services
* Note: correction from emailed version, the message was intended for all faculty and staff, not just full-time faculty and staff.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Dear UNI Students,
The university was recently informed that some UNI faculty and staff have received an error code when e-filing their federal tax returns. At this time, there does not appear to be a direct link between the reported errors and the university, and the university is not aware of similar issues with students.
A UNI task force has been created to investigate possible sources of the issue and is engaging external experts to assist with the process. The Internal Revenue Service has been notified and is actively working on this as well.
If you have received an error message after e-filing your tax return, you should call the IRS at (800) 908-4490, ext. 245. The unit office is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., CST. For additional information, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Tips-for-Taxpayers,-Victims-about-Identity-Theft-and-Tax-Returns-2014.
I would ask that you also let UNI know if you have received an error code by calling our newly established information line at 273-5700, available Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
We will share further information as it becomes available.
Vice President for Student Affairs
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Dear Faculty and Staff,
Yesterday an email was sent providing information regarding tax fraud and UNI employees. While the Internal Revenue Service continues to investigate, UNI has committed to provide one year of credit monitoring service for all faculty and staff. This email is a supplement to the communication from yesterday. That communication is available on the UNI website mentioned at the end of this message.
To help protect your identity, the university is offering a complimentary one-year membership to Experians ProtectMyID Alert. This service helps detect possible misuse of your personal information and provides you with identity protection support focused on immediate identification and resolution of identity theft. This service will monitor all three credit bureaus. I encourage all faculty and staff to take advantage of this service.
Activate ProtectMyID Now in Three Easy Steps
Ensure that you enroll by May 31, 2014. (Your code will not work after this date.)
Visit the ProtectMyID website to enroll: www.protectmyid.com/redeem
Provide your Activation Code: see next paragraph on how to obtain your code
Your personalized activation code is available in two ways. You can obtain your activation code through MyUniverse. The link will be at the top of your page after you log in. You will need your CatID and password to log into MyUniverse. Or, a letter with your activation code will be available at the cashiers office in Gilchrist. You will need a photo ID to pick up your letter. The office is open 8 a.m 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Because of the personalized nature of this letter, you are the only one who can pick up your letter.
If you have questions or need an alternative to enrolling online, please call 877-371-7902.
Additional details regarding your 12-MONTH ProtectMyID Membership:
A credit card is not required for enrollment.
Once your ProtectMyID membership is activated, you will receive the following features:
Free copy of your Experian credit report
Surveillance Alerts for:
Daily Bureau Credit Monitoring: Alerts of key changes & suspicious activity found on your Experian, Equifax® and TransUnion® credit reports.
Identity Theft Resolution & ProtectMyID ExtendCARE: Toll-free access to US-based customer care and a dedicated Identify Theft Resolution agent who will walk you through the process of fraud resolution from start to finish for seamless service. They will investigate each incident; help with contacting credit grantors to dispute charges and close accounts including credit, debit and medical insurance cards; assist with freezing credit files; contact government agencies.
It is recognized that identity theft can happen months and even years after a data breach. To offer added protection, you will receive ExtendCARETM, which provides you with the same high-level of Fraud Resolution support even after your ProtectMyID membership has expired.
$1 Million Identity Theft Insurance*: Immediately covers certain costs including, lost wages, private investigator fees, and unauthorized electronic fund transfers.
Once your enrollment in ProtectMyID is complete, you should carefully review your credit report for inaccurate or suspicious items. If you have any questions about ProtectMyID, need help understanding something on your credit report or suspect that an item on your credit report may be fraudulent, please contact Experians customer care team at 877-371-7902.
A website is now available providing summary information about this situation. An FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section will be added. I encourage you check the website regularly. The Web address is www.uni.edu/tax-advisory. If you have additional questions, please feel free to call the information line at 273-5700.
We will disseminate further information as appropriate and as allowed by the IRS and other investigating agencies.
Vice President for Administration and Financial Services
* Identity theft insurance is underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of AIG . The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Dear UNI faculty and staff,
Last week, an email was sent to university faculty and staff indicating some UNI employees received an error code when e-filing their tax returns. Since that message, additional faculty and staff have come forward with similar circumstances. Thank you to those who have provided additional information.
The UNI task force created to investigate possible sources of the issue continues to work and is engaging external experts to assist with the process. The Internal Revenue Service has been notified and is actively working on this issue. The university is in communication with additional agencies, including the Division of Criminal Investigation and the Cedar Falls Police Department.
Data security is of the utmost importance at UNI. The university utilizes many complex encryption protocols at multiple levels to protect sensitive data. There is currently no evidence that a university system has been compromised. However, it is prudent for employees to contact the IRS to determine if they have been impacted.
To find out if you are personally affected by an error code, call the IRS at (800) 908-4490, ext. 245. The unit office is open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
For additional information please visit the Internal Revenue Service at: www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Tips-for-Taxpayers,-Victims-about-Identity-Theft-and-Tax-Returns-2014.
UNI employees receiving error codes or needing assistance are encouraged to call a newly established information line at 273-5700.
The university will provide credit-monitoring services through our vendor for all faculty and staff at no cost. Information on how to enroll in this service will be communicated no later than 5 p.m. tomorrow.
We will disseminate further information as appropriate and as allowed by the IRS.
Vice President for Administration & Financial Services
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Dear UNI faculty and staff,
The university was recently informed that some UNI employees have received an error message when e-filing their tax returns. At this time, there does not appear to be a direct link between the reported errors and the university.
A UNI task force was created, and numerous processes and data points have been reviewed. Members of the task force have been in communication with the Internal Revenue Service and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation.
The task force continues to investigate possible sources of the issue, including other entities affiliated with the university. Integrity and security of confidential data continues to be of the upmost importance.
If you have received an error message while e-filing your tax return, contact payroll manager Linda Gruetzmacher at 273-3003. The IRS recommends you visit www.irs.gov/uac/Common-Error-Reject-Codes-(ERCs)-for-Individual-Tax-Returns-&-Suggested-Solutions and follow the outlined steps. If you suspect identity theft, please visit www.irs.gov/uac/Identity-Protection and follow the recommended steps.
Director of University Relations