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TCC takes action to assist employees after identity theft incident

At town hall meetings on the Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach campuses, President Edna Baehre-Kolovani assured faculty and staff that Tidewater Community College leadership will continue to be transparent as more is learned about the identity theft incident that affected every 2015 employee.

About 100 employees attended the March 30 meeting on the Norfolk Campus, which had been scheduled weeks ago to discuss issues such as enrollment and the 2016-17 budget. President Kolovani took the opportunity to address employees directly about the identity theft.

Local media were permitted to cover the identity theft portion of the meeting. The Virginia Beach meeting on March 31 was streamed live on YouTube. The president also discussed the issue at the March 29 town hall meeting on the Portsmouth Campus.

Additional meetings are scheduled April 6 at 9 a.m. at the Center for Workforce Solutions; April 8 at 2 p.m. in the Green District Administration Building; and April 11 at the Chesapeake Campus Student Center. 

On March 24, college administrators discovered that a file containing the names of individual employees, their Social Security numbers, 2015 earnings, withholding and deduction information was sent in response to a request that appeared to be from a legitimate TCC account. The account was, in fact, a scam.

More than 100 employees have reported difficulty filing their 2015 tax returns because fraudulent returns had already been submitted using their personal information.

“We are learning new information every day,” President Kolovani said. “I don’t have all of the answers, but we’ve been telling people what we know and posting new information on our website.”

She encouraged staff members to follow the steps outlined on the frequently-asked-questions page to protect themselves from identity theft.

“We live in a world where we don’t have that safety anymore, and we have to be very careful,” she said.

TCC’s leadership is working with state and federal authorities on their investigations. The Virginia Community College System is also investigating.

President Kolovani announced that VCCS legal staff will review the college’s privacy policy. She also said that TCC will reevaluate who should have access to sensitive data and those employees will receive advanced cybersecurity training.

Employees were urged to set up fraud alerts with national credit agencies for themselves as well as spouses and children, even though family information was not exposed. President Kolovani said employees who have filed taxes without a problem should also take full precautions.

A call center has been established to help address employees’ concerns. In addition, TCC staff will help employees with fraud alerts and IRS notifications at Campus Assistance Centers over the next two weeks.

Official letters of notification about the identity theft will be coming to all current and former employees who received taxable wages in 2015. The letters will include details for setting up free credit monitoring provided by the college.

In the meantime, the college has mailed preliminary notifications to all former employees.

In response to a question, the president reminded employees that major breaches in 2015 – of Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management – may be impacting them as well.

Anthem members automatically received free credit monitoring and identity repair through AllClear ID for 24 months. Affected individuals may also enroll in AllClear Pro to receive credit monitoring and an identity theft insurance policy at no cost for 24 months. For more information, visit Anthem’s FAQ page.