More than 50 Fresno Unified employees have been alerted by police that they could be victims of identity theft, raising questions about the security of the school district’s personnel data.
In a hotel room in Gilroy – two hours west of Fresno – police arrested three Fresno residents after finding altered credit cards, forged checks, equipment used to make credit cards and paperwork containing personal identifying information.
“Among the paperwork was a spreadsheet listing some Fresno Unified School District employees, current and retired. Some employees also had their dependents listed as well. The spreadsheet listed their name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, telephone number, hire date and employee status,” said Gilroy police Detective Amanda Stanford.
Stanford said it is unknown how Andrew Clement, 27; Katie Whala, 28 and Randall McKinney, 28, obtained the FUSD information, and the exact number of victims has not been determined.
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Fresno Unified is investigating whether the alleged theft is related to an information breach of a vendor the district used in 2015.
53Fresno Unified employees’ personal information was stolen
“(Gilroy Police Department’s) investigation identified information from approximately 53 district employees, retirees and their dependents. Police notified those impacted by letter,” said district spokeswoman Amy Idsvoog. “Gilroy police believe it is impossible to know how this information was obtained, but it appears to be a few years old.”
The Fresno Teachers Association posted to its Facebook page about the issue on Thursday, saying several members had received the notification from police.
One teacher reported having a cell phone account established in his name, and another said attempts were made to open credit cards with his information.
“Some members had been a victim of ID theft long before they received this letter,” the FTA said.
Identity theft in California can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor depending on the details of the case. A felony could mean up to three years in jail and/or a fine of $10,000. A misdemeanor could mean up to one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
The district is advising concerned employees to call the Fresno Unified risk management department at 559-457-3561.