New Trier Investigates Teachers' Identity Thefts

About 40 current and former employees report their info was used to open fake accounts and file false tax returns

By BJ Lutz
|  Thursday, Jun 12, 2014  |  Updated 12:38 PM CDT
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Officials from New Trier Township High School District 203 have asked state and local authorities to look into the possible identity theft of about 40 current and former employees.

The district's internal probe of the matter began in March after a former employee reported that their information had been "misused," Nicole Dizon, the district's director of communications, told NBC Chicago. Since then, other employees reported that their information was used to open credit cards and cell phone accounts and to file false tax returns, she said.

A Schaumburg-based auditing firm, Halock, was hired to look into the matter and found no indication of a "current compromise" of the district's systems.
 
The common thread with the affected teachers appeared to be that all are participants in the Illinois Teachers Retirement System and were hired at New Trier from 1968 to 1993," Dizon said.

"The investigators were not able to determine if there had been a breach in the past due to the length of time that had passed since the hiring of the majority of those affected and the replacement of systems used at that time," she said in a statement. "Further, the records of about half of these employees were no longer stored in our systems, as we typically only keep electronic records for three years, and some of these employees retired as early as 1998."

Dizon said a letter was sent to all retirees for whom current mailing addresses were known. The letter summarized the issue, the district's investigation, and offered steps the retirees could take to further protect their personal information.

"New Trier will continue to investigate the issue internally and with outside consultants as necessary. The district also is encouraging authorities to fully investigate the issue," she said.

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