INDIANAPOLIS, Ind - One day after learning their personal and financial information could be in the hands of an email scammer, current and former Scotty’s Brewhouse employees are being urged to move quickly to secure their information from fraud and identity theft.
Several employees tell FOX59 they heard about the breach on the news before hearing from the company they worked for.
One former employee, who did not want to be identified, says she learned of the breach after getting a call from her father, who had seen the story on television.
“And he just said, 'I want you to know this is happening,' and it was news to me,” the former employee said. “It’s just really scary because it’s just something you have no control over and when you join a company, you kind of take that for granted that your identity is going to be protected.”
The information breach was reported to local authorities Monday afternoon after an email scammer tricked a Scotty’s Brewhouse payroll employee into sending an email that contained all 4,000 employee W-2 forms. Scotty’s Brewhouse reported the leak to the IRS before contacting Indianapolis Metropolitan Police.
By late Tuesday afternoon, employees had learned that the information contained in their 2016 W-2 was likely in the hands of a scammer.
“We put all of our trust into whatever work place we’re at, and we trust that our information is going to be safe,” the former employee said. “And when that trust is compromised, it’s just kind of scary.”
The former employee says she’s not really mad at anyone in the company, but she hopes more care will be taken to protect employees’ information in the future.
“Everyone makes mistakes, but something on this level, it’s like you should be more careful,” she said.
She also feels like she’s in a race to secure her credit and file her 2016 taxes before a scammer can beat her to it.
“Hope no one steals your information or the money that you’re going to get from taxes,” she said. “So, it’s kind of a race against time.”
The four-page letter that Scotty’s Brewhouse emailed to employees offers free credit monitoring for the next year. It also provides contact information and steps to follow in order to place “fraud alerts” on accounts, as well as monitor and potentially freeze credit. The letter states that the incident has been reported to the IRS, FBI, Indiana State Police, Federal Trade Commission and Indiana Attorney Generals office.
“There are steps that can be taken through our office where we can help them with an affidavit for identity theft that will allow them to work for getting their credit protected,” said Attorney General Curtis Hill.
Hill says his office’s role will likely be to assist potential victims in the case.
“We have credit freeze opportunities where we can work with them to secure a credit protection from the credit bureaus,” Hill said.
Those credit protection steps can be found at the Attorney General’s website.
Officials with Scotty’s Brewhouse declined multiple requests for interviews regarding the leak.