The threat of identity theft among General Motors employees has run amok, reports the Detroit Free Press. The automaker has signaled a fraud alert, warning 883 active and retired employees that they should take steps to shield themselves against identity theft. Sources indicate a GM employee downloaded employee records before retiring from the company in May.
Taking names and social security numbers
A representative of GM Security told the automotive press that the offending former employee, who has not been named publicly, “copied two electronic spreadsheets containing names and social security numbers” just before leaving General Motors for good. Potential victims among the employed and retired were notified of the danger via letter.
“GM Security confirmed that the personal information was deleted on the former employee’s computer,” wrote John Quattrone, GM’s executive director for global product development human resources. “We believe that no further copies of such data were made or distributed to other persons, though we cannot be certain of this.”
Quattrone further advised GM’s current and former employees via the letter that they should activate a fraud alert via the major credit agencies, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.
“GM has completed an investigation of this incident and is contacting the affected individuals to inform them of precautionary steps they can take to protect against possible identity fraud,” wrote Quattrone. “No cases of fraud have been reported related to this incident.”
Identity theft goes big
General Motors isn’t the only large-scale organization that’s dealing with identity theft concerns from former employees these days. According to NBC Philadelphia, a former employee of the Philadelphia branch of the Internal Revenue Service has been arrested for allegedly participating in an identity theft scheme. Domeen Flowers, 48, of Maitland, Fla., reportedly made unauthorized copies of taxpayer data contained in the IRS’ Integrated Data Retrieval System. Investigators claim Flowers accessed personal data on a person from whom she was renting a house in Philadelphia, then used the data to apply for credit cards under the victim’s name.
Charges filed against Flowers include aggravated identity theft, illegal access of tax returns and a series of related offenses. If convicted on all charges, she will face at least two years in prison and as many as 46 years, plus a maximum potential fine of $1,254,000 and other considerations.
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