A digital security breech has potentially put the Social Security numbers of Tipton County’s largest employer in the hands of those with malicious intent.
Tipton County Director of Schools Dr. William “Buddy” Bibb says the system’s employee records were obtained by an unauthorized third party and sent a letter home with employees warning them of the steps to take to ward against identity theft while throwing the full resources at his disposal at the problem.
In addition to investigators from Tipton County Sheriff’s Office and the Covington Police Department, the Internal Revenue Service and the Secret Service, two federal agencies, have been notified due to the potential for Social Security number theft. Bibb says the breech was detected nearly immediately and that law enforcement promptly jumped into action to determine the person or persons behind the breech.
“We are continuing to give full assistance and cooperation to the investigation by law enforcement,” said Bibb. “We are contacting local banks to report the data breach and ask for their assistance in monitoring the accounts of our employees for improper activity and we will continue to investigate options to assist in protecting the private information of everyone involved.”
The letter advised employees to place a fraud alert on their credit files, which will tell creditors to contact them before they open any new accounts or change existing accounts. As soon as one credit bureau confirms a fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts and it will remain on a credit report for 90 days.
Employees were also told to monitor their credit reports for any suspicious activity and consider initiating a credit freeze to help decrease the likelihood of an identity thief opening new accounts under their names.
“In addition to our full assistance during this investigation, we have posted a copy of Identity Theft: A Recovery Plan, a comprehensive guide from the FTC to help guard against and deal with identity theft on the Tipton County Schools website and those affected can also contact the principals or supervisors for a copy,” said Bibb. “We sincerely regret this incident and will continue to exhaust any and all efforts to resolve this matter. We are here to answer any questions or concerns and will keep our employees advised.”
Bibb urges all Tipton County School employees to use the information in the letter sent out and to visit the federal website as IdentityTheft.gov.