CPSO: New information in third party data breach compromising tax payer checking accounts
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – We have new information following numerous reports of bank account fraud throughout Southwest Louisiana. 7News has heard many complaints from viewers who say they were told their checking accounts may have been involved in a data breach after paying their property taxes.
Essentially, when you pay your property taxes, you send the check to the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office. They in turn send the money to First Horizon Bank (formerly IberiaBank), which then uses a third party to process the payments. We’re told the third party, Technology Management Resources, is the one that may have been compromised.
“CPSO was notified by IberiaBank that its third party Lockbox service provider, Technology Management Resources, Inc. (TMR), may have had a security breach; the breach did not involve CPSO’s database or computer systems,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a statement Friday.
The Sheriff’s Office says it is working with First Horizon to provide the contact information needed to make notification to affected tax payers. Those individual tax payers do their personal banking at various banks, so across the area we are seeing customers having to close and reopen accounts to make sure they are protected. Some of those affected use First Federal Bank in Lake Charles, which tells 7News it’s helping its customers secure their information:
“First Federal Bank is fully aware of the external data breach affecting checking accounts at multiple financial institutions in our area, and this breach is no fault of any of the affected financial institutions, including First Federal Bank. When this breach of data was discovered, steps were taken to minimize the effect of the breach in order to protect our customers. We are actively identifying all compromised accounts and working with customers as quickly as we can to close the affected accounts and securely reopen new ones. We thank all of our customers for their patience during this stressful time. Law enforcement is actively investigating this incident.”
We want to reiterate that the breach affected multiple banks because it affected whoever the tax payer banks with.
The Sheriff’s Office also reiterates what it previously released Thursday, June 16:
“The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office did not experience a potential hack or data breach of information pertaining to any of our databases.
The Sheriff’s Office is the tax collector for property taxes paid in Calcasieu Parish. A banking institution deposits the property tax payments collected by the Sheriff’s Office. The banking institution has notified the Sheriff’s Office that a third party used by them suffered a likely data breach of the third party’s database. As a result of the likely breach, those who paid their taxes by check may be a victim and their checking information may have been exposed.
Again, the Sheriff’s Office’s did not experience any breach of its databases. The banking institution and/or its third party contractor, who owned and maintained the breached database, is the responsible party for notifying those individuals who have possibly been a victim to the breach.”
Though this breach involves tax payments, we’re told the Calcasieu Parish Tax Assessor’s Office does not play a role. The tax assessor is only responsible for assessing the amount each property owner pays, but does not collect or process any payments.
7News reached out to Technology Management Resources, Inc., but a representative declined to comment. We’ve also reached out to First Horizon Bank for comment and have not yet heard back.
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