NBA players have been falling victim to financial scam artists for as long as the league has been around. These are men in their late teens or 20s who are now incredibly wealthy and who struggle to adjust (just like you and I would have at that age), and sometimes the people pretending to have their best interests at heart — including family — are just trying to get rich on the player’s back.
This is not that. This is the kind of breach of sensitive information American shoppers are all-too used to of late — and it appears the Milwaukee Bucks’ player’s information was released by a team employee who fell victim to a scam. Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports has the story.
In an email sent to Milwaukee players on Wednesday night, the franchise termed the issue as a “serious security incident” and took responsibility for an employee distributing 2015 IRS W-2 documents in an email scam in which team president Peter Feigin was impersonated, sources said.
The W-2 information included names, addresses, Social Security numbers, compensation information and dates of birth. An unknown party requested the private documents on April 26, and the Bucks ultimately discovered on May 16 that the financial forms were sent to a spoof hacker, according to the email sent to players.”
The NBA, NBA players’ union, IRS, and FBI have all been notified by the team and involved, according to the report. The team is providing the players with two free years of credit monitoring as a result of this.
As you might imagine, some players — and their agents — are very pissed off. Understandably. There need to be safeguards with teams (the same way there are at my employer and yours). That said some of the biggest data leaks in the United States — most notably, the release of inside documents from Sony Pictures — came because an unwitting employee either fell victim to a scam or phishing expedition, or clicked on an attachment in an email from one of these scammers. Welcome to the digital age.
Hopefully, nothing comes of this for the players.