Financial data breach at Sprouts Farmers Market affects thousands of employees

CANYON COUNTRY, SANTA CLARITA (KABC) -- An ABC7 viewer contacted Eyewitness News with complaints over a serious data breach at Sprouts Farmers Market stores, including the location where he works as an assistant manager.

Dennis Cassidy said employees from the store are angry and frustrated by how the company is handling the data breach, especially since many have already had their financial information compromised. Some said their tax refunds were stolen and fraudulent credit cards were opened.

"It turns your whole world upside down. You know, you're secure one minute and the next minute, it all comes tumbling down," said Cassidy.

Cassidy reviewed the alarming notice from the IRS that said suspects tried stealing his tax refund and his husband's. He is one of thousands of workers at Sprouts Farmers Market targeted by scammers.

His own company put all workers at risk after an employee in the payroll department fell victim to a phishing scam and sent out 2015 W2 statements for all employees.

"They have 20,000 employees from coast to coast, so the potential is for thousands of employees to have their financial histories destroyed," the concerned worker said.

The Phoenix-based supermarket chain said the employee received an email appearing to be from a company executive asking for the W2s.

The grocery chain is not the only high-profile firm to be hit with a similar scheme. Seagate and Snapchat are also among those who have fallen victim.

In a statement, the supermarket chain said, "Sprouts is working with the FBI and the IRS to investigate this crime and to determine the best ways to protect team member tax information."

For Cassidy, he said it's too late as he, like thousands of others, is facing a financial nightmare.

Workers across the country said they are looking into possible legal action against the company.
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