TWINSBURG -- Confidential information contained on the 2016 W-2s of about 500 current and former employees of the city of Twinsburg was affected by a phishing scam Feb. 3, and the IRS and Twinsburg Police Department have been alerted in the matter, according to the mayor's office.

A phishing scam is a fraudulent email disguised to appear as a trustworthy source, targeting payroll departments to obtain information (in this case from employee W-2s) to file fraudulent tax returns.

According to a Feb. 9 release from the city, a Twinsburg employee responded to a disguised email with a file that contained 2016 W-2 information for 500 current and former city of Twinsburg employees, including approximately 200 full-time workers, part-time seasonal workers and Board and commission members, Mayor Ted Yates said.

Yates said W-2 information from about 50 employees has "already been compromised."

"And there are ways that this can be restored," he said. "The IRS has flagged our EIN number. In speaking with people there who are familiar with these white collar issues, they advise people to file their tax returns as soon as possible, electronically."

Immediately after being notified of the situation, city officials contacted the Twinsburg Police Department and the IRS about the security breach.

"The city has taken extensive measures to ensure the security of all employee confidential information," said Mayor Ted Yates.

Yates said all 500 affected employees who have the city of Twinsburg's Employee Identification Number (EIN) on their W-2s have been offered identity theft protection services as well as information about preventing the filing of fraudulent tax returns.

"The security of our employees' confidential information is a priority for us and we are taking this matter very seriously," Yates said. "Unfortunately we live in a time when these types of crimes can occur ... it's happened to communities around us. And now it's happened to us."

An investigation into the matter is ongoing.

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