33,000 Oregon tax forms with some personal info sent to wrong addresses

Taxes
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(Correction: The original story indicated the mailing error was reported by the Oregon Department of Revenue. It was reported by the Oregon Department of Administrative Services)

The State of Oregon is blaming a “mailing error” as the reason why nearly 33,000 1099-G tax forms may have ended up going to the wrong households. Those documents, for people who received unemployment insurance benefits in 2023, contain limited personal information.

The Oregon Department of Administrative Services (DAS) said a private firm that contracted by DAS on behalf of the Oregon Employment Department (OED) made the error. OED sends Forms 1099-G to taxpayers who received unemployment benefits.

The state said said the error impacted 32,960 out of 122,245 mailings. It said some people may have failed to receive a 1099-G while others may have received an additional form not belonging to them.

The information on the documents includes name and address, the last four digits of the recipient’s social security number, amount of compensation and income tax withholdings.

RELATED: Congress aims to wind down a COVID-era program and expand the child tax credit

DAS says this does not fall under a breach of Oregon’s Consumer Information Protection Act. It does remind people concerned about identity theft to actively monitor their account statements and credit reports. The public can also check their credit reports with the three credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — and file fraud alerts with them.

Anyone who received an extra 1099-G document is asked to shred it or otherwise destroy it.

Here are more details from DAS:

A machine error caused some of this subset of tax forms to go into envelopes already containing a tax form 1099-G. DAS was first notified of this error during the ongoing printing and mailing process for tax form 1099-G and called for an immediate halt, which prevented the majority of these forms from being impacted.

This was an issue caused by a contractor but is ultimately the Department of Administrative Services’ responsibility. We take ownership of this error and are correcting this mistake immediately.


What happened, and how is it being fixed?

On Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, the Department of Administrative Services was notified by the contractor responsible for mailing that an error had occurred in a job conducted for the Oregon Employment Department, for 2023 tax form 1099-G. This caused some who have received benefits from the Unemployment Insurance program in 2023 to be mailed their tax form 1099-G, as well as an additional form not belonging to them. This also means some people may not have received their tax form 1099-G in the mail.

Upon learning of the problem, DAS ordered its contractor to halt the mailing job immediately, which prevented the majority of forms from being impacted. The Department of Administrative Services will finish the mailing and will re-send tax form 1099-G to the entire subset of approximately 32,960 mailings impacted. This work will be completed by Jan. 31, 2024.

What information was involved?

The information contained in tax form 1099-G includes the following:

  • Recipient’s name and address
  • Recipient’s TIN, also known as the last four digits of the social security number
  • Amount of unemployment compensation
  • Amount of federal income tax withheld
  • Amount of state income tax withheld

What action do you need to take?

If you received a tax form 1099-G related to benefits from the Unemployment Insurance program that does not have your name on it, please immediately shred or otherwise destroy that document.

If you don’t want to wait for the paper form, you can also access your tax form 1099-G online through the Online Claim System. Click on the button titled “1099-G Tax Forms” toward the bottom of the page. A brief video tutorial on how to navigate the website is available online.

If you have not yet received tax form 1099-G, but you were paid benefits from the Oregon Unemployment Insurance program in 2023, your 1099-G may not have been sent yet, or you may have been one of the people whose form was mis-mailed. If you can’t use the Online Claim System and you don’t receive a tax form 1099-G by February 15, please contact the Unemployment Insurance Division of the Oregon Employment Department using the Contact Us form.

Individuals whose tax form 1099-G are among the estimated 32,690 mailings that were processed before the machine error was discovered will each receive an explanatory letter in the mail along with a copy of their 2023 tax form 1099-G. This includes people whose 1099-G was sent in another’s envelope, people who received their form and people who received their form along with another person’s in the same envelope.

Identity Protection

Occurrences like this can be alarming. Although this mailing error is not a breach under Oregon’s Consumer Information Protection Act, it is an opportunity to remind Oregonians of options available to protect their personal information.

There are things you can do to protect your information from identity theft. It is always recommended that you actively monitor your account statements and credit reports. You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. To order a free report visit https://www.annualcreditreport.com/, call toll free 1-877-322-8228, or contact the bureaus directly.

You may contact the three credit bureaus individually:

Equifax Fraud Reporting 1-800-525-6285 P.O. Box 740256 Atlanta, GA 30374 [www.equifax.com]www.equifax.com

Experian Fraud Reporting 1-888-397-3742 P.O. Box 9554 Allen, TX 75013 [www.experian.com]www.experian.com

TransUnion Fraud Reporting 1-800-680-7289 P.O. Box 2000 Chester, PA 19016-2000 [www.transunion.com]www.transunion.com

You can also place fraud alerts with the three credit bureaus. Placing a fraud alert at one of the three major credit bureaus notifies the other two to place the same alert on their files for you. A fraud alert tells creditors to take certain steps, including contacting you, before they open any new accounts in your name or change your existing accounts. Placing a fraud alert can protect you, but means it will probably take more time for you to open new credit accounts. There is no charge for this protective measure. An initial fraud alert will last for one year.

If you ever believe you are the victim of identity theft, you should immediately file a police report with your local police department. A police report is often required to dispute fraudulent charges. You can also report suspected incidents of identity theft to local law enforcement, the Oregon Attorney General, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The Oregon Attorney General and the FTC have additional information on preventative measures on their websites. Their contact information is:

Oregon Attorney General 1-877-877-9392 Oregon Department of Justice 1162 Court Street NE Salem, OR 97301-4096 [www.doj.state.or.us]www.doj.state.or.us

Federal Trade Commission 1-877-ID-THEFT (877-438-4338) 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20580 www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/

For more information

Phone and online resources are being set up to address questions specifically related to this incident.

A special toll-free phone line is being set up that will be staffed starting Monday, Jan. 29, 2024. The phone line will open between the hours of 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. PST. That number is 855-734-4816.

Scan the QR code below to access the website or go to https://unemployment.oregon.gov/1099G-mailing-error for more information.

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