Hackers target Seattle archdiocese in tax fraud scheme

Hackers target Seattle archdiocese in tax fraud scheme
SEATTLE - Hackers have targeted the Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle, putting some employees and volunteers at risk of being victimized in a national tax refund fraud.

Scores of Social Security numbers of employees and volunteers could be in the hands of data thieves, and now the FBI is working to keep them from capitalizing on it.

The archdiocese posted a notice on its website saying several people in their parishes and chancery have become victims of fraud.

The notice says hackers have been able to steal personal information, file fake tax returns and redirect the money to themselves. The archdiocese now has a forensic security firm and the FBI on the case.

Here's how it happened:

When employees or many volunteers apply for work, they provide their personal information, including their Social Security number, for a background check. That includes employees, youth ministry volunteers, money counters and more.

The archdiocese learned of the fraud on March 4 and quickly learned at least three parishes and the chancery were affected.

To see if you've been a victim of fraud, check with the IRS to see if a return has been filed in your name by going to the IRS website, calling the tax line or going to the local IRS office.

If your information has been compromised, report it to the IRS, check your credit reports and notify police to create an identity theft report.

The archdiocese says it has the most secure and current encryption systems, but it appears someone got in anyway.