Several WKU employees report tax returns filed fraudulently

Trey Crumbie

The IRS has notified several WKU employees that their tax returns have been filed fraudulently.

Gordon Johnson, chief information technology officer, said between 50 and 60 WKU employees have been affected as of Friday. 

Tony Glisson, human resources director, said he was unsure if the fraudulently-filed tax returns are connected to the Anthem data breach, which could have potentially compromised the identify of nearly 80 million Americans, including 4,600 current and former WKU employees. Anthem has served the third-party administrator of WKU’s self-insured Employee Health Plan since Jan. 1, 2003.

Johnson said WKU is looking to help in any way it can.

“It’s a dynamic situation,” he said. “We’re continuing to look at it, we’re continuing to see if there’s any ways we can help and… we’re continuing to be aware that security is everybody’s responsibility including ours.”

Late last month, Johnson sent out an email to faculty and staff urging them to inform WKU if they had a fraudulent tax return filed so that the information could be passed along to Anthem. Glisson said the information may or may not be helpful to Anthem as they investigate the data breach.

Glisson said fraudulent tax return filings happen every tax season, but none on this scale.

“In terms of us receiving notice of that, here in Human Resources, yeah, there’s been a significant number greater than in the past,” he said.  

Glisson said there hasn’t been any common link between the employees that have reported their fraudulently filed tax returns. 

He said the IRS provides methods for those who have had their tax returns filed fraudulently, but there is a bigger dilemma.

“… I think the greater problem would be that their personal data is out there, somewhere, being used by unauthorized persons,” he said.

Johnson stressed the importance that people routinely check their personal information online and to make sure it’s secure.

“In this day and age, if you’re not doing that stuff, you’re sort of neglecting a process you should be doing in the digital age,” he said.