Hundreds of Powhatan school employees compromised in data breach

Posted at 5:13 PM, Mar 20, 2017

POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. – Employees of Powhatan County Public Schools have been notified of a data breach that occurred Monday that has exposed their person information to a scammer.

Superintendent Dr. Eric Jones said the data breach happened when a payroll employee responded to an Email Phishing Scam requesting employees’ W-2 forms.

The personal information exposed in the breach includes employees Social Security numbers, address, wages and taxes, and gross income.

The data breach includes the personal information of 905 employees of Powhatan County Public Schools, a school spokesperson confirmed.

“I was notified of this breach of data within the hour and we immediately began the process of notifying authorities and investigating steps to protect each of you,” Superintendent Jones said to employees in a letter. “We sincerely apologize for this data security breach and the inconvenience that it may cause you and your family.”

In a letter to employees, Jones said the school system filed a notice of the breach with the IRS, the Federal Trade Commission, local police, and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Jones recommends employees place a fraud alert on their credit file before a perpetrator can open any new accounts or change existing accounts in your name.

The letter continued:

“Call any one of the three major credit bureaus. As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts. The initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for 90 days. You can renew it after 90 days.

  • Equifax: (link is external) or 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian: (link is external) or 1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion: (link is external) or 1-800-680-7289”

The school system has set up three question and answer sessions for employees effected by the data breach. Two of the sessions happened Monday afternoon. The third session is scheduled for Tuesday, March 21 at 8:00 a.m. in the Powhatan High School auditorium.

This isn’t the first local incident of a major data breach involving employees W-2 forms. Hundreds of current and former employees at Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market were compromised in a data breach in February.

Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.

Here’s more information from Powhatan County Public Schools to their employees:

“Request that all three credit reports be sent to you, free of charge, for your review. Even if you do not find any suspicious activity on your initial credit reports, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you check your credit reports periodically. Thieves may hold stolen information to use at different times. Checking your credit reports periodically can help you spot problems and address them quickly.

If you find suspicious activity on your credit reports or have reason to believe your information is being misused, file a police report. Get a copy of the police report; you may need it to clear up the fraudulent debts.

If your personal information has been misused, visit the FTC’s site at to get recovery steps and to file an identity theft complaint. Your complaint will be added to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, where it will be accessible to law enforcers for their investigations.

You also may want to consider contacting the major credit bureaus at the telephone numbers above to place a credit freeze on your credit file. A credit freeze means potential creditors cannot get your credit report. That makes it less likely that an identify thief can open new accounts in your name. The cost to place and lift a freeze depends on state law. Find your state Attorney General’s office at to learn more.”



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