UPDATE 8 a.m. | At least three Seattle area Catholic parishes, and the Archdiocese of Seattle’s chancery offices, have had employees or volunteers targeted by a tax-fraud scheme which has been occurring nationally. The cases typically involve criminals getting people’s Social Security numbers and filing false tax returns in attempts to get refunds from the IRS.
According to a memo sent Friday to area parishes by Chancellor Mary E. Santi, Seattle church officials learned of the fraud cases last Tuesday, but because the reports came from just one parish, “it was presumed to be a local issue.”
Subsequently, other cases came to light, prompting an alert issued by the archdiocese Monday. The FBI is investigating.
ORIGINAL POST | Archdiocese of Seattle employees and volunteers may be victims of tax-refund fraud because of a database breach, the archdiocese said in a notice posted on its website Monday.
The archdiocese has reported the breach to the FBI and hired a forensic security firm to try to identify the source of the breach. Officials are also determining what additional steps should be taken by those impacted by the fraud.
Those who think they may have been affected should check with the IRS to see if a return has been placed in their name. The archdiocese asks that anyone who finds that their tax return is compromised contact firstname.lastname@example.org and include full name and parish or school.
In a national tax-refund fraud scheme, identity thieves typically file fraudulent refund claims using a taxpayer’s identifying information, according to the IRS. This can result in delayed or diverted tax refunds.