March 3, 2014
Dear Faculty and Staff:
As you are likely aware, it appears personal information about full-time 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 full-time 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