Ball State staff report identity thefts, suspect Anthem hack
MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) – Ball State University officials confirmed Thursday that employee information was among that compromised in a recent data breach at Anthem. Now the university is trying to determine if the recent identity theft of a large number of employees is related.
Over the last three weeks, Ball State administration said it has received about 200 calls from employees who have either been victims of identity theft or who are concerned about the possibility of becoming a victim and how they can protect themselves.
“We want to make sure our employees understand it, understand they have a way of protecting themselves,” said Bernie Hannon, Vice President of Business Affairs at Ball State. “Some of course are scared, some are very calm but the important thing is they understand what is happening and that they don’t become victims of fraud anymore than they already have or how to protect themselves going forward.”
Abel Alves, a history professor at Ball State, and his wife, Carol Blakney, are among those whose identities were stolen and a fraudulent tax return filed in their name. It was a call Tuesday from their accountant that alerted them to the problem
“She had actually tried to file our taxes electronically and they had been bounced back to her because someone else had already filed them using our identification and personal information and received a refund,” Alves said.
The accountant advised the couple to immediately freeze their credit, file a report with the FTC and then with Muncie police. Then, the worry set in.
“You sit and we just thought all night of the possible places people could take our money or our get billed,” Blakney said. “How do you protect yourself? We just didn’t know anything.”
Hannon said the university has set up phone numbers employees can call for information, sent multiple emails, and posted information on the website.
“We’ve tried to provide as much information to them so they’d know how to do a credit freeze, how to do the credit reporting, how to report in case they have been,” Hannon said.
It was that information that alerted the couple to the fact a recent debit card they’d received was part of the fraud.
“We didn’t know it was linked to this at first,” Alves said. “But it’s a green dot card and I pulled it out of the trash after we received the phone call because there was information to that affect through a series of ball state emails.”
Now they can only sit back and wait for the investigation to hopefully provide some answers.
“That’s very frustrating that we don’t know exactly where the breach was so we don’t know who to be nervous about getting our information to,” Blakney said. “We just need answers.”
24 Hour News 8 reached out to Anthem Thursday but did not hear back.