Eighty current and retired Montgomery County employees’ personal information may have been breached thanks to a mechanical problem in the Montgomery County finance office.
On Jan. 26, the sorting machine used to stuff envelopes with County employee’s W2 and 1099R forms erroneously placed certain people’s forms into envelopes marked with other people’s addresses. As a result of the mishap, County officials and employees are remaining alert for signs of credit theft, since a person who accidentally received another’s tax form could easily open a credit card account in that person’s name with the personal information included on the tax forms, including names, addresses, and Social Security numbers.
“We're very concerned about our employees and our retirees and on everything we can to do to ensure that they are protected,” said County spokesperson Ohene Gyapong.
Since the January incident, the County has made an outside credit-monitoring service available to those affected in order to prevent any fraud.
“On Jan. 26, 2018, your W2 was mailed reporting income received during 2017,” Alexandre Espinosa wrote in a letter to County employees about the mistake. “Unfortunately, a mechanical error occurred in the mailing process and some forms were inadvertently inserted in envelopes that already contained a form.”
While the mistake affected employees and retirees who receive their forms by mail, those who chose to receive their tax forms electronically remain unaffected.
For now, County officials are trusting in the honesty of their workforce, and have urged anyone who received someone else’s form to self-report by calling the County Finance Department.