Written by Michael Crowe, Multimedia Journalist - email
More than 50 employees at the University of Northern Iowa may have had their identities stolen.
For psychology professor Adam Butler, it started with a message from the university, telling him electronically filed taxes might return an error.
"Because I don't e-file my taxes, I disregarded the first memo," Butler said.
Then he realized someone had filed taxes in his name. Essentially, his identity was stolen.
He's not alone, either. More than 50 people have reported similar issues to university officials.
"When it got to eight or nine, it caught our eye," said Scott Ketelsen, Director of University Relations. "We started thinking that there may be a problem here."
Ketelsen said UNI has contacted the IRS and Division of Criminal Investigations, who are looking into the issue.
Still, Butler said he wishes the university had been more initially clear on the severity of the issue.
"I think what's frustrating is that the problem is not that there is an error message when you e-file your taxes," Butler said. "The problem is that social security numbers were stolen."
Ketelsen said they're addressing the situation as it develops. A help line has been established, and the university is offering free credit monitoring. Still, they're not sure how and where the breach happened, and if the university was involved at all.
"It seems to be a myriad of situations," Ketelsen said. "There's no pattern to it. It's difficult to put your finger on what information they've gotten and just who has it."
More resources for those affected are available on the university's website.
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