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Wayne County hit by identity theft

More than 500 Wayne County employees were the victims of an identity theft from their Harrisburg payroll processor’s computer system.
TRR photo by David Hulse

By David Hulse
May 21, 2014

HONESDALE, PA — All the financial institutions providing direct deposit for Wayne County government employees have been notified that the county payroll processor’s computers were hacked two weeks ago and that their personal information may have been compromised.

The county was notified by Paytime, Inc., of Harrisburg, that they had an unauthorized access into their system on or around April 30 of this year.

A county statement issued on May 13 said that an immediate investigation showed that intruders gained access to all of their clients’ employee personal information, including information about Wayne County’s more than 500 employees.

Responding to questions May 15 at their meeting, Wayne Commissioners Chair Brian Smith said, “As soon as we found out, we took appropriate actions. We had a meeting with all department heads, read them the email and provided access to numbers for credit agencies.”

The company has engaged forensic experts and is continuing its investigation, but assures that the security breach did in fact occur on their internal systems and no breach occurred at the county level.

Chief Clerk Vicky Botjer said the Paytime’s records included everything in the county’s personnel files, including bank account numbers and information from individual W-2 forms.

Botjer said Paytime has processed Wayne’s payroll since 2010 and there have been no similar past incidents. The county is not considering any change in processors “at the moment,” she added.

No recent irregularity reported in any county employee’s financial accounts has yet been directly attributed to the payroll breach, she said. “The banks regularly have to deal with these kinds of issues, so their sources are not apparent,” Botjer said.

Commissioner Jonathan Fritz, who wrote a college paper arguing that we are over-reliant on computer services, was not surprised by the incident. “Think of how many forms you’ve filled out in your life with your Social Security number on it and imagine how many places there could be breaches,” he said.

Paytime is cooperating with appropriate state and federal law enforcement as well as providing credit protection services, credit counseling and credit monitoring for all county employees.

The county’s statement said that Wayne employees’ financial institutions, providing them with direct deposit services, are helping workers with assistance as may be necessary.

Employees or their financial institutions can obtain additional information by contacting the commissioners’ office.