April 19, 2017

Seminar readies faculty against identity theft

The Louisville Cardinal News

By Kyeland Jackson —

Dozens of faculty attended a seminar April 19 detailing identity theft and how to prevent it. The seminar comes weeks after U of L revealed over 70 university employees’ information was stolen and used for fraudulent tax returns and over 750 more employees’ accounts were possibly affected.

Thomas Keefe, a financial management consultant with a doctorate in human resources, led the seminar. Keefe said most scammers contact victims through phone and email, financially draining employees and their employers.

“A lot of ID theft is caused by people that we know,” Keefe said. “Identity thieves don’t just scam us, they scam the institutions we work for in order to drain our resources.”

Scammers use stolen information primarily for employment or tax-related fraud and credit card fraud, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s 2014-16 data. To prevent theft, Keefe advised employers limit what they share, safeguard physical mail, use firewalls and protect their passwords.

For U of L’s tax hack, scammers used personal information to access employees’ tax information via TALX, a virtual W2 management system. Equifax, who owns TALX, responded with more security.

“Based on the investigation to date, Equifax has no reason to believe that its systems were compromised or that it was the source of the information used to gain access to the online portal,” Public Relations Senior Director Pamela Stevens said shortly after the April 4 hack.

Before, TALX used one-step authentication to secure its website. Asked why two-step authentication was not used before the breach, Equifax refused to comment further.

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