Hundreds of Argyle ISD Employees at Risk for Identify Theft After Data Breach

Hundreds of employees in the Argyle Independent School District are at risk of having their identities stolen. This, after a scammer sent an email posing as the schools' superintendent and asking for personal information.

Nearly 500 current and past employees are affected, including everyone who worked for the district in any way in 2016. That includes substitutes and anyone else who would have a W-2 from the district.

On Wednesday, a scammer sent a targeted "spear phishing" email to an Argyle ISD employee that was "carefully designed" to look like it was sent by the schools' superintendent.

The email requested W-2 information, including names, addresses, social security numbers and earnings information.

Thinking the email was legitimate, the employee responded and attached all 2016 W-2 forms, including that personal information for anyone who worked for the district last year.

Argyle ISD has now notified the FBI, the IRS and police to try to track down the scammers. The IRS will be monitoring affected employees' tax returns to prevent fraud.

Argyle ISD is also offering one-year of identity protection service for any employee who wants it.

Workers NBC 5 spoke with on Friday were stunned, but said they do not blame the district.

"Scammers are clever, they trick people, so somebody got tricked," said one Argyle ISD bus driver and mechanic Kim Swan. "Hopefully they can find out who it was and stop it, before it gets more serious."

In a statement, the district said they "deeply regret this incident" and apologized to all their employees.

The NBC 5 Responds team did some digging and offers these tips to protect yourself.

If you get a call or email asking for something confidential, take a minute and think about what they're asking you to provide. If you’re asked for financial or other personal information, don’t give it out.

It doesn't matter if the company’s logo is on the email you receive, it could easily be faked.

Also, don't update your information to someone who contacts you on the phone or via internet and you should never send a wire transfer to anyone for any reason related to an account.

Another tip to keep in mind, ask yourself if you're feeling pressured.

Scammers will try to scare you by saying they'll disable your account, or even have you fined or arrested.

It's just not true, no government agency does that.

If anyone seems to be rushing you to give them payment now, it's usually a red flag.

Sometimes legitimate companies may contact you for money, but always ask 'can I call you back?'

Don’t give personal information to someone who calls or emails you first. Make sure you’re certain it’s really the company they claim.

Call them back, but don't use numbers they give you. Look it up yourself or find one on your bill.

NBC 5 Responds is always here if you've been a victim of a consumer problem.

Contact us and we'll do all we can to help fight for you.

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