University Sends Students’ W-2 Forms to Wrong Addresses

The Georgetown University Payroll Office sent out student employee W-2 forms to incorrect addresses this week.

A W-2 form indicates the annual amount of taxes withheld from an employee’s paycheck and is used to file federal and state taxes. It contains sensitive information including a Social Security number, which is often used in cases of identity theft, as it is treated as a form of identification for personal records including bank accounts, credit cards and loans.

According to the payroll office, all W-2 forms are to be mailed to each employee’s permanent address as stated on MyAccess by the end of January 2016. Student employees may also access their forms online in the Georgetown Management System.

Director of Payroll Services Claudette Richardson declined to comment regarding the reasons behind the error and the office’s response.

In an email sent to student employees Jan. 21, Associate Vice President for Benefits and Payroll Charles DeSantis explained the error and stated that the office has since mailed forms to correct addresses.

“The inadvertent mailing of your personal information to an incorrect address resulted from a one-time error in the course of processing student-workers’ year-end tax forms,” DeSantis wrote. “The University deeply regrets this occurrence. We assure you that we take the privacy and security of your personal information very seriously. … Please accept our sincere apologies for this occurrence.”

DeSantis stressed the possibility that the form information may be misused and urged student employees to remain aware of potential risks to their credit security.

“You may wish to explore the information and guidance offered by the Federal Trade Commission on how to protect yourself from identity theft. In addition, you may request a free copy of your credit report, and even put a fraud alert on your credit report,” DeSantis wrote.

Cawley Career Education Center employee Gina Kim (SFS ’18) received another student’s form, prompting concerns over the whereabouts of her own form.

“The personal information that was on it was someone else’s name, their Social Security number, their address, which is weird because it was sent to my address,” Kim said. “If this person’s form was sent to my house, then where is my form, becomes the question. It was very weird to experience.”

Bethan Saunders (SFS ’17), who works as an undergraduate research fellow at the Mortara Center for International Studies, discovered after logging into GMS that her W-2 form had been sent to an incorrect address.

“I am really confused and worried about how this happened, especially on such a large scale,” Saunders wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I found out on Facebook from a friend who posted about her issue and warned that many people were affected. She encouraged us to check GMS to see if our W2s were safe, but when I checked mine I saw that my W2 was on its way to an address in NY. Very far from my home of California!”

Misty Li (MSB ’17), who works in a residence hall office, expressed concern over the university’s lack of a rapid response. At the time of her comments, the office had not yet corresponded with employees on the issue.

“My main issue is how the university hasn’t sent any communication out yet, and also how they haven’t given us any steps on how to proceed, given that it’s been over 24 hours,” Li said. “It’s alarming for us to log in to GMS to find a different address there. Now every single person that’s dealing with it is dealing with it through word of mouth, ‘who should I contact’,’ what should I do’.”

Saunders emphasized the need for the university administration to rectify its mistake.

“I hope Georgetown will take responsibility for putting the identity and security of its student workers at risk and do something to fix this and guarantee our credit security as soon as possible,” Saunders wrote.

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. What an awful piece of reporting from The Hoya. W-2s are mailed out by Payroll Services. They are sent to the addresses in MyAccess. Clearly something went wrong here, but why are we blaming Student Employment in the byline and holding them accountable for rectifying the mistake?

  2. I also received W-2 which belongs to someone else. I immediately inform her about the situation and sent her an e-mail saying that I did not open the form and I will return it to Office of Global Service since she is an international student.
    I think this is the best we can do at the moment.
    If you received any W-2 which does not belong to you, please do the same.

  3. By the way if you are concerned about identity theft, here is a good resource:
    https://www.identitytheft.gov/

  4. Here is another e-mail, I received from payroll services.

    Dear Student,

    This email is to provide you with some additional information and resources regarding the inadvertent mailing of your 2015 IRS Form W-2 to an incorrect address.

    If you haven’t already, please share last week’s email and the information enclosed in this message with your parents. In many cases, W-2s will be sent to their residence, so it’s important that they are aware of the situation.

    First, if you should receive someone else’s W-2 at your address, please do not open it. Instead, either 1) send it back to the University by marking it with “Return to Sender” or 2) shred it.

    As we mentioned in last week’s message, corrected W-2s have been mailed. If you haven’t received your W-2 yet, you should have it by Friday.

    The University has been working with Experian to provide a year of free identity protection to any affected students. You will find details at the bottom of this email. If you would like to take advantage of this service, please contact Matthew Kelly-Montresor at mjk250@georgetown.edu for coverage activation instructions. Please be sure to email this request from your official Georgetown.edu email address.

    For those who may have already subscribed to identity and credit protection services in response to this situation, you may also reach out to mjk250@georgetown.edu to request a reimbursement.

    We appreciate your understanding and cooperation and, again, apologize for this unfortunate occurrence.

    Sincerely,

    Charles DeSantis
    Associate Vice President, Benefits, Payroll & Wellness
    Chief Benefits Officer

    *******************************************

    Experian’s® ProtectMyID® Alert
    To help protect your identity, we are offering a complimentary one-year membership of Experian’s® ProtectMyID® Alert. This product helps detect possible misuse of your personal information and provides you with superior identity protection support focused on immediate identification and resolution of identity theft.
    Additional details regarding your 12-month ProtectMyID Membership:
    A credit card is not required for enrollment.

    Once your ProtectMyID membership is activated, you will receive the following features:

    Free copy of your Experian credit report
    Surveillance Alerts for:
    Daily Bureau Credit Monitoring: Alerts of key changes & suspicious activity found on your Experian, Equifax® and TransUnion® credit reports.
    Identity Theft Resolution & ProtectMyID ExtendCARE: Toll-free access to US-based customer care and a dedicated Identity Theft Resolution agent who will walk you through the process of fraud resolution from start to finish for seamless service. They will investigate each incident; help with contacting credit grantors to dispute charges and close accounts including credit, debit and medical insurance cards; assist with freezing credit files; contact government agencies.
    It is recognized that identity theft can happen months and even years after a data breach. To offer added protection, you will receive ExtendCARETM, which provides you with the same high-level of Fraud Resolution support even after your ProtectMyID membership has expired.
    $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance*: Immediately covers certain costs including, lost wages, private investigator fees, and unauthorized electronic fund transfers.
    Once your enrollment in ProtectMyID is complete, you should carefully review your credit report for inaccurate or suspicious items. If you have any questions about ProtectMyID, need help understanding something on your credit report or suspect that an item on your credit report may be fraudulent, please contact Experian’s customer care team at 877-288-8057.

    * Identity theft insurance is underwritten by insurance company subsidiaries or affiliates of AIG . The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions.

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