Skip Navigation
Kalamazoo College
(c)CMcGuireKSpr2011_0079

Identity Protection

In April of 2016 Kalamazoo College was the victim of a phishing scam that compromised the personal information of faculty, staff and student employees who worked at the College during the 2015 calendar year and received an IRS Form W-2 from Kalamazoo College.

The College immediately notified the Michigan State Police, the FBI and the IRS of the incident.  The IRS has indicated they will monitor affected employees’ returns for the purposes of attempting to prevent the disbursement of fraudulent tax refunds.  We also have informed the state taxing authorities of the incident.

In conjunction with the emailed communications, formal notification letters were mailed to all affected individuals on Wednesday, May 11.  This mailing includes information about credit monitoring and identity theft resolution services that will be provided by AllClear ID for all impacted individuals including current employees, former employees, and affected student employees.

Kalamazoo College takes the protection of its employees’ personal information seriously and is taking steps to prevent a similar occurrence. The College is aggressively analyzing where policy and process changes are needed, including analysis of additional automated technology solutions, and will take the appropriate actions. The College will supplement existing employee training with additional training on protecting personal information.

**UPDATE:  Identity protection services provided by AllClear ID will now be provided for 4 years for all affected individuals** 

Equifax Data Breach

On September 7, 2017, Equifax, one of the three major credit reporting services, announced it had become aware of the unauthorized access of sensitive personal data for 143 million people.  Equifax is offering free TrustedID Premier identity theft protection and credit file monitoring for one year for affected individuals.  You may visit their site for more information.

Individuals impacted by the College's phishing scam in 2016 will have identity theft protection and credit monitoring of all three credit reporting services through AllClear ID through April 2020.  Therefore, if you were also impacted by the Equifax data breach, you should review the Equifax site for more information on the TrustedID Premier service to determine whether to enroll in this alternative identity theft protection and credit monitoring service.

Tax Season Reminders

A few tax season reminders for individuals affected by the data breach:

  • File your taxes as early as possible.
  • It may take you a little longer to receive your refund.  The IRS and state taxing authorities were notified of the breach and have protocols for monitoring tax return filings.  You may be asked to provide additional information to prove your identity.
  • Don't believe anyone that calls, texts, or emails you claiming to be from the IRS, even if they have all or part of your social security number.
  • If you receive a notice from the IRS or state taxing authorities, attempt to verify authenticity and respond right away if warranted.  Try verifying the phone number on the notice with phone numbers listed on the IRS or state treasury websites before calling.  A real notice from the IRS provides extensive instructions and checks to be made payable to "United States Treasury".  
  • If you believe that you are a victim of identity theft, such as a fraudulent tax return filed in your name, call AllClear ID for identity theft repair services.  You may be asked to file a police report in your local jurisdiction and provide AllClear ID with a copy.

Information on How to Place a Security Freeze on your Credit Report

IRS Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft

Beware of Fake IRS Tax Bill Notices

Tax Scams/Consumer Alerts

Update from Michigan Treasury Department on Identity Theft Security Measures

 

Fraud Alerts

If you have not done so already, you should place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit report.  You may contact any one of the three credit bureaus as they share information.

          TransUnion: 1.800.680.7289 or online
          Experian:     1.888.397.3742 or online
          Equifax:       1.888.766.0008 or online

The fraud alert is free.  You do not need to provide a credit card number.  You do not need to enroll individually in credit monitoring.

Individuals with no credit history, minors under 18, and individuals residing outside the U.S. may not be able to place a fraud alert with the credit bureau.  Please be assured that regardless of whether you successfully placed a fraud alert with one of the credit bureaus, any misuse of your identity will be resolved through the identity theft resolution services. 

If you are in the process of buying a home, it's important to know that a fraud alert could slow down the mortgage approval process.  Your lender is required by law to take reasonable action in response to the security alert and take additional steps to verify your identity.  As a result, mortgage loan processing will be forced out of a rapid, automated system and into a manual review process, which is much slower.  This could cause problems if you are facing tight deadlines for closing the loan.  It's important to discuss your individual circumstances with your lender.

A fraud alert can also affect your ability to get instant credit, such as applying for a credit card with a retailer to take advantage of an instant discount.  Such processes are generally automated and there could be no way to conduct the manual application review required to verify your identity, and the result could be that your application is denied.

Special Issues for Individuals Residing Outside the U.S.

Credit monitoring and identity theft resolution services will be available to individuals residing outside the U.S.  Individuals without a U.S. address and phone number must call AllClear ID to enroll and provide an email address to receive credit monitoring alerts.  More information is included in the mailing direct from AllClear ID. 

TIAA-CREF

The College notified TIAA-CREF of the data breach incident.

If you have concerns about the security of your TIAA-CREF account, we suggest that you contact TIAA-CREF for guidance.  If you call the TIAA-CREF National Contact Center at 1.800.842.2252, they will suggest that a password be established for future NCC calls to verify identity.  If an accountholder's password is lost or forgotten, the accountholder would be required to mail documentation to prove identity in order to establish a new password.   

Red Flags of Identity Theft

  • mistakes on your bank, credit card, or other account statements
  • mistakes on the explanation of medical benefits from your health plan
  • your regular bills and account statements don't arrive on time
  • bills or collection notices for products or services you never received
  • calls from debt collectors about debts that don't belong to you
  • a notice from the IRS that someone used your Social Security number
  • mail, email, or calls about accounts or jobs in your minor child's name
  • unwarranted collection notices on your credit report
  • businesses turn down your checks
  • you are turned down unexpectedly for a job

Guidance from the Federal Trade Commission

The Federal Trade Commission offers the following guidance if your Social Security number is lost or exposed:

  • If a company responsible for exposing your information offers you free credit monitoring, take advantage of it.
  • Get your free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com.  Check for any accounts or charges you don't recognize.
  • Consider placing a credit freeze.  A credit freeze makes it harder for someone to open a new account in your name.
    • If you place a freeze, be ready to take a few extra steps the next time you apply for a new credit card or cell phone - or any service that requires a credit check.  (Note:  See letter from AllClear ID for a complete explanation of the implications of a credit or security freeze)
    • If you decide not to place a credit freeze, at least consider placing a fraud alert.
  • Try to file your taxes early - before a scammer can.  Tax identity theft happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a tax refund or a job.  Respond right away to letters from the IRS.
  • Don't believe anyone who calls and says you'll be arrested unless you pay for taxes or debt - even if they have part or all of your Social Security number, or they say they're from the IRS.
  • Continue to check your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com.  You can order a free report from each of the three credit reporting companies once a year. 

Here is the link to the FTC website