Stanford implements measures to further protect employee tax information
Financial Management Services has enhanced protection of employee tax information and, in coordination with the university’s Information Security Office, suggests ways that employees can further protect themselves from fraud and identity theft.
With tax season underway, Stanford wants employees to know about new measures the university has established to improve protection of sensitive employee financial information. In addition, Financial Management Services reminds employees of additional steps they can take to protect themselves from tax fraud and identity theft. Kelly Wright, director of payroll, recently discussed the topic with Stanford Report.
What measures has Stanford established to enhance protection of sensitive employee financial information?
Stanford has discontinued use of a third-party provider for printing, online posting and mailing W-2 forms, and now handles all of those functions in-house.
In recent weeks, the university has printed, posted and mailed 2016 W-2 forms:
- Stanford printed W-2 forms for employees who did not opt for online delivery and mailed them Jan. 20.
- Stanford posted W-2 forms online in Axess on Jan. 13. The forms are available for all current employees, postdocs and students, including recent graduates.
- Stanford printed W-2 forms for former employees who worked at Stanford during 2016 and mailed them Jan. 20. Former employees who require a copy of their W-2 form should contact the Financial Support Center at (650) 723-2772.
What additional steps can employees take to protect and monitor their identity?
Stanford continues to encourage employees to take proactive steps to protect and monitor their identity. The university has several recommendations, including:
- Enroll in credit monitoring services: Benefits-eligible employees at Stanford can receive free credit monitoring. Visit the Cardinal at Work website, AllClear Identity Theft Protection, for enrollment details.
- Monitor credit reports: Consumers are eligible for free annual credit reports from each nationwide credit reporting company once every 12 months. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com to obtain credit reports.
- Consumers can proactively freeze credit with each of the three major credit bureaus. A credit freeze is a block that prevents people from accessing your credit report without your permission. It will remain in place until you remove it or choose to temporary lift it if you need to apply for a line of credit or a credit-dependent service. Visit the websites of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to get started. Note: If you are planning to enroll in credit monitoring, do so before freezing your credit. Once a credit freeze has been initiated, it becomes necessary to temporarily lift the freeze when applying for loans and credit cards. Credit agencies charge a nominal fee for temporarily unfreezing credit.
Has the U.S. Internal Revenue Service taken steps to further protect taxpayers from identity theft and tax fraud?
The IRS, which has been working with state tax agencies and the tax industry to strengthen safeguards to protect taxpayers, instituted a number of new safeguards for 2017 – including many behind-the-scenes protections – that are aimed at people who use tax software to file returns.
The IRS encourages taxpayers to file returns as early as possible during the tax season as a means of preventing fraudulent activity. The IRS is also enhancing its procedures by performing more detailed matching of employer files with individual tax returns to detect fraudulently filed tax returns.
Where else can Stanford employees obtain information about detecting and handling identity theft?
Additional resources for detecting and handling identity theft are available from the Information Security Office website.