back to article It's that time of the year again: Texas school district blabs staff tax documents to phishers

A school district in Texas says it lost sensitive tax information from every worker after a single employee was duped by a phishing attack. Dallas-Fort Worth news station NBC5 reports that the Argyle school district is warning its workers that their W-2 tax forms were lost in a phishing attack. (Workers in America have just …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Why doesn't the IRS blacklist those returns with compromised social secirity numbers so when a return is made, check with last years address and I dunno, their name. If it's changed, send a SWAT team instead of a tax rebate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      yes, send a SAWT around, kick the doors in, shoot everyone inside, then after everyone is dead, check if the person has moved house in the last 12 months?

      1. James 51

        Sounds about right for the US police. BTW it's SWAT, not SAWT.

      2. Robert Helpmann??
        Childcatcher

        This would increase news viewership thus giving the members of the SWAT team and local reporters something to do. Likewise, the various officers in charge of the constabulary would be kept busy fielding questions from the press. Lawyers would obviously have their time taken up on both sides of the issue. Social services would be needed to take care of any surviving children. Commemorative merchandise would be sold helping all involved remember the event. The public would be entertained. The economy would be stimulated.

        What's not to like?

  2. Dominic Thomas

    Quite an achievement!

    A quick look at their directory page shows that they have around 250 staff, so I'm impressed that the victim managed to send that number and bulk of tax forms (Word documents? PDF files? - many, many megabytes of email, either way) to the scammer without having to call on their IT department for help.

    1. MD Rackham

      Re: Quite an achievement!

      I just received my W-2 as a PDF. It's 45K in size.

      For 250 employees that's 11 MB. Even less if it was a single PDF so all the PostScript header stuff wasn't repeated 250 times.

      A bit large for an email attachment, but if the District Superintendent asks, then you do whatever it takes!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its Always The Weakest Link...

    In any circle of friends / family / co-workers / neighbors etc that tends to screw over privacy the most... And its getting ever harder to defend against...

    1. 2460 Something

      Re: Its Always The Weakest Link...

      I thought you were going down the route of "If you don't know who it is in your circle .. then it's probably you" :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Its Always The Weakest Link...

      Well, DUHHH!...Who else would it be but the weakest link?

      1. LaeMing
        Go

        Re: Its Always The Weakest Link...

        The weakest link is always in the last place you look!

        1. Spanners Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Its Always The Weakest Link...

          The weakest link is always in the last place you look!

          Because as soon as you find it, you stop looking in any more places,,,

          1. 2460 Something

            Re: Its Always The Weakest Link...

            Which might work when your looking for a singular object, however, if your looking for not just a weak link, but The weakest link, one assumes you are investigating multiple interconnected links (i.e. a chain), in this instance finding your target link doesn't conclude the search, indeed, by finding and replacing/strengthening the weakest link, there must now be another that takes the lofty accolade of 'The weakest link'. Your task will never end.... Cheer up though, it will at least keep you busy :)

    3. DNTP

      Re: Weakest Link...

      Twenty+ years ago, when I was a highschooler taking an IT internship (with the town educational system, coincidentally), I was keen and green and ready to find and tackle any computer problem I could get my hands on. A week later, my boss told me something I'll never forget:

      "Kid, I know you think you have something to prove and you might just have a career in this. But if you have an engine where one part is made tougher than all the others, it tends to wear down everything around it and the system breaks down."

      In other words, he was telling me that the strongest link breaks the rest of the chain. Uh, OK, I'll get right on that sir.

  4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The school district says it will be offering all employees a year of free identity theft protection service."

    How helpful of them to announce this. Now the black hats know open season starts in a year's time.

  5. disgruntled yank

    Time for an audit

    Clearly the Argyle SOX compliance isn't up to spec.

  6. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Solution

    The real solution for these problems is to replace the income tax with other taxes that do not require as meticulous records and personal details to be kept. Doubt any government will let it happen.

    1. Spanners Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Solution

      The real solution ... Doubt any government will let it happen.

      In the UK, we call it PAYE - Pay As You Earn. Across the civilised world, it has various names. This is found wherever accountancy bodies have not lobbied to prevent it. It is simpler faster and more accurate than forcing everyone to screw up their own returns. It is, however, much cheaper. This is not acceptable in the Land Of The Fee.

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