Tax fraud and identity theft reported among employees of Portland Archdiocese
Reports of identity theft are surfacing among employees and volunteers of the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland. Those people only found out when they filed their 2013 taxes and discovered someone else had already used their Social Security numbers.
Ensworth Bruni tried to file his taxes, but on Saturday his tax preparer notified him that his filing was rejected.
"Someone had attempted to file them using my Social Security number," he said.
An Archdiocese spokesman told KATU News everyday parishioners don't seem to be impacted.
"They have not been a regular parishioner who has not been a volunteer or a regular employee," said spokesman Bud Bunce.
The Archdiocese has sent out two memos in recent weeks to employees. One notified them that fraud reports were surfacing in Seattle. The other explained how similar reports were starting to show up in Portland.
The KATU Problem Solvers reported last week that in Washington, the FBI and the IRS are investigating a number of other tax fraud reports from the Archdiocese of Seattle. There are some victims in Clark County in Southwest Washington, which is part of that diocese. The Seattle cases also involve only employees and volunteers. Investigators there believe that group of people is affected because they must provide personal information as part of a background check.
As of late Monday afternoon, the Archdiocese of Portland says there have been 76 reported cases of identity theft or problems with tax filings. Despite that number, Bunce still says there's no evidence of any Archdiocese computer network being hacked. As of now, there's also no clear connection between the cases in Seattle and the cases in Portland. The Archdiocese has put a notice about tax fraud on its website.
Bruni thinks there will be more victims.
"I assume we're just scratching the surface on this," he said. "I assume a lot of people who haven't said anything will begin saying something and letting the Archdiocese know."
If you're worried you might be at risk, it's better to be safe than sorry. Contact your tax preparer or the IRS right away. You can find more information about tax fraud on the IRS website.