Seattle Archdiocese, FBI investigate data breach

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by JOHN LANGELER / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jlangelerKING5

KING5.com

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 10:31 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 11 at 5:57 AM

SEATTLE -- Most people would enjoy getting a $7,000 check in the mail. In the case of one West Seattle man, all the check indicated was his identity had been stolen.

"The check had my Social Security Number on it as well as another woman's name," he said, asking us not to release his name. "I immediately became suspicious."

The check arrived two weeks ago and claimed to be a tax refund.  This despite the fact the man already knows he's not getting one, in fact he owes the federal government money.

He contacted the Internal Revenue Service, credit agencies and the police, only to find this kind of scam is more widespread.

The man volunteers at Holy Rosary School as a coach, and soon discovered other parents and volunteers at the campus had their taxes falsely filed as well.  It is believed the database of background checks conducted by the church was compromised.

"Somebody having my identification, being able to open accounts in my name," he said, "It's definitely a concern."

Monday, the Archdiocese of Seattle confirmed it sent a letter to the Catholic community informing them of income tax filing fraud within the membership. It is unclear how widespread it might be, the letter indicated.

At Holy Rosary Church, staff said at least eight families and five staff members had been affected.

"It's still really a mystery to us and to the Archdiocese and to whoever else beyond the church has discovered they've been compromised," said Fr. John Madigan from Holy Rosary.

The Archdiocese said if any parishioners think they are victims of the fraud, to email taxinformation@seattlearch.org

The Federal Trade Commission has a website with information on identity theft protection.  

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