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Claremont Courier - A Local Nonprofit Newsroom

Pomona College employees fall victim to fraudulent income tax filings

At least eight Pomona College employees may have been victims of tax fraud, according to an email from Vice President and Treasurer Karen Sisson.

Ms. Sisson’s email, dated March 21 at 12:10 p.m., says the affected employees received letters from the IRS regarding possible fraudulent filings of tax returns. Ms. Sisson explained that many of those affected became aware of the possible fraud when they attempted to file their tax returns electronically and were told that their 2015 income taxes had already been filed.

Ms. Sisson said in the email that the Pomona College security system containing sensitive payroll and employee information remains safe. Pomona College operates on a separate security system from the other Claremont Colleges, she explained.

“Information Technology has completed a security audit of Pomona’s UltiPro payroll and HR system and determined that it is secure and no breach has occurred,” Ms. Sisson wrote. “Security reviews of all Pomona systems have also found no breaches.”

Pomona College will continue conducting “full security audits” as the investigation moves forward, the email said.

Ms. Sisson noted that tax fraud of this nature is a nationwide problem. “As you may have read in news articles on tax fraud, the best way to avoid tax fraud is to file your return as soon as possible,” she said.

Pomona College employees who are eligible for benefits have Anthem for medical and vision plans. Anthem was the victim of a “sophisticated cyber attack” in January 2015, where millions of customers’ personal information—including social security numbers, income data and personal addresses—were compromised, according to a release from Anthem.

“Pomona College does offer Anthem medical and vision plans, however, we have no evidence that taking Anthem coverage is the source of these issues,” Ms. Sisson told the COURIER via email. “Multiple medical plans (Kaiser and Anthem) are represented. We simply don’t know enough, which is why we sent out the email.”

Ms. Sisson said the issues could have come from sources outside of the Colleges.

“The circumstances vary widely with some individuals having had a partner or spouse’s information compromised at a workplace outside the Claremont Colleges,” she said. “Hence, I would not rush to judgment.”

Pomona College employees currently covered under Anthem should visit www.anthemfacts.com. College employees who were unable to file 2015 income taxes should notify Pomona College the human resources or information technology departments or contact Brenda Rushforth at brenda.rushforth@pomona.edu

The investigation is ongoing.

Matthew Bramlett

news@claremont-courier.com

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