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School District Enhances Security Firewall to Prevent Identi

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MERCEDES – People you’ve never met are working to make you their next victim of identity theft.

During tax season, cyber criminals target employers preparing their workers’ tax information.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS discovered a mix of the correct software and education is the best way to avoid exposing sensitive personal information this tax season.

Dr. Daniel Trevino Jr. is superintendent of the Mercedes Independent School District. Last year during tax season a member of his staff unknowing sent employee’s personal information and W-2s to a fraudulent email source.

This year, he’s stepped up the school district’s security firewall system as well improved employee training to keep that information safe.

“Emails that don’t hold integrity, information being requested that perhaps looks a little shady, those are all red flags that we went through training for these individuals that hold staff information,” Trevino told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

President of the Better Business Bureau Dolores Salinas said identity thieves are busy during tax season.

She explains properly securing personal information is the key. She explained educating employees is just as important.

“How can identity theft happen? What you as an employee can do that makes information available to others that aren’t supposed to have that information. Educate your employees about identity theft, about the repercussions and dangers of it,” Salinas said.

Salinas also recommends limiting the number of employees who have access to sensitive information. For employees, Salinas said a little monitoring goes a long way.

“You’re checking your information once you have filled your tax with IRS.gov to see the progress of your return, make sure that there is a confirmation that your return has been received, especially if you’re expecting a refund,” Salinas explained.

Salinas said these days being extra cautious is keep to protecting your identity.

The Internal Revenue Service asked that anyone who receives a suspect or fraudulent email requesting personal information to please send the full email headers to phishing@irs.gov and use “W2 Scam” in the subject line. That helps the IRS keep track of new forms of fraudulent activity.

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