Weather Shield employees find out they are identity theft victims once again
Back in April 2011, I noted that employees of Schield Family Brands were being alerted to a possible breach after there were 87 reported cases of ID theft/fraud affecting employees. Schield Family Brands includes four central Wisconsin window and door manufacturers: Weather Shield, Peachtree, Vetter and Crestline. At the time, the Secret Service took over the investigation as Schield was unable to confirm that they were the source of any breach.
In February of 2012, the number of affected employees rose, as dozens discovered that their information had been used for tax refund fraud. It was not clear at that time whether these individuals might have had their data compromised the previous April, or if any of these were new employees whose data might have been newly compromised.
Now it’s happening again, it seems.
Mike Joyce reports that many Weather Shield employees filed their tax returns, only to learn that someone else had already claimed tax refunds in their names.
The Rusk County Sheriff’s Department says 55 Weather Shield employees countywide have had their identities stolen and some of them are repeats from 2012.
“We are getting more and more coming in because I think people wait until the last minute before they file and they are finding out they are becoming victims and we are getting more in the last couple weeks than we did earlier in the year,” explains Rusk County Sheriff David Kaminski.
So how could the same person be victimized two years in a row, especially after steps were taken to prevent it from happening again? Weather Shield says it doesn’t know. The company says there’s no evidence the identity theft happened at Weather Shield.
Read more on WQOW.
So here we are, two years later, and still no one knows how these employees wound up as victims of ID theft, but the misuse of their information is ongoing. Is the Secret Service still involved in this case? And after some of these people were tax refund fraud victims in 2011, why didn’t the IRS flag their returns for 2012 to prevent the repeated fraud?
Clearly, this is a difficult case, but it seems like the IRS has failed to adequately protect known victims.