Stanford University warns about tax fraud, identity thefts | News | Palo Alto Online |


Stanford University warns about tax fraud, identity thefts

Twenty-three cases reported

Tax scammers have hit the Stanford University campus, with 23 cases reported already and more expected as tax return season draws to a close, according to the university's Department of Public Safety (DPS).

The DPS and the Information Security Office issued an alert to the university community on April 4 after a rash of reported incidents of fraudulently filed tax returns. The reports began on April 1 and the numbers are expected to be higher as people receive letters from the IRS saying that their tax returns have already been filed, said Bill Larson, public information officer for the DPS.

University police are working closely with the IRS and its partners to investigate the scams, which cost the government millions of dollars each year and are a growing problem nationwide.

"Tax frauds are really difficult to investigate in an effort to try to identify the perpetrators. It's frustrating for us and the victims," Larson said.

The Information Security Office provided specific guidance to the Stanford community on how to avoid, detect and handle identity theft, and Larson said he is hearing already that counselors are swamped with calls. They can be reached at

Victims of a tax fraud, scam or identity theft should report it to the DPS at 650-329-2413, Larson said.

Once a police report is filed, victims can contact the Identity Theft Council, which provides free support and credit recovery assistance, by calling 888-771-0767.

For information on the services offered by the Identity Theft Council and tips to reduce the incidence of identity theft, visit

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6 people like this
Posted by Sayimsorry
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 6, 2016 at 11:39 am

We were hacked. It likely came from Stanford servers. Documents such as online tax forms and pay stubs contain social security numbers. However, instead of Stanford acknowledging that their security may be to blame, the DPS sent out security "tips" about identity theft that were patronizing and admonishing - and childish.

1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 6, 2016 at 1:07 pm

Every one is being hacked from government agencies, department stores, hospitals to major universities who should have the best out there. If you have any doubts that HRC's homebrew computer was not hacked then you are in denial. Or generationally clueless. Does your child help you with your computer? That says it all.

2 people like this
Posted by Frustrated
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 7, 2016 at 11:48 pm

Stanford was not hacked. The perpetrators stole people's W2s because they were available to anyone with trivial amounts of easily obtainable personally identifiable information. No security, no password, no authentication. How can anyone be so clueless, and hand over such sensitive information to criminals?

Criminals downloaded hundreds of W2s belonging to Stanford employees, and were thereby able to submit fraudulent tax returns, as long as they did so before the legitimate taxpayer. And, presumably, had the refund sent to themselves instead.

1 person likes this
Posted by resident 1
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 8, 2016 at 11:56 am

This problem is indicative of a larger problem in which technology is moving at a very fast pace and most people are not keeping up with what is required or even care - beyond their knowledge base. Hollywood get it - Sony was hacked and a lot of people got into very embarrassing situations due to the disclosure of data which caused them to lose their high pay jobs. A lot of movies and TV shows now focus some attention on this topic.
Note "Madam Secretary" - The Secretary of State goes to work in the State Building in the top dog office and has a classified computer on a classified server, attends meeting in which classified data is discussed, and is surrounded by staff who exercise the same rules required for that job. Situations in which there is a breach of security are highlighted.
The real life environment which the leaders and mangers foster dictates what happens in real life. Most government jobs require the management of information in a manner which is proscribed by the level of security for that job.

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