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Kingston Tax owner speaks out after break-in
KINGSTON — A recent burglary of Kingston Tax Services leaves clients dating back eight years vulnerable to identity theft, said owner Tim Winsor.
On Aug. 12, sometime before 8:30 p.m. three computer towers, two flat-screen monitors and a silver Hewlett Packard laptop were stolen from the business.
On each of the computers was eight years worth of client information, which could be used by identity thieves, said Winsor, who took over the company 13 years ago.
Kingston Tax Services currently services between 1,200 to 1,300 clients.
According to Kitsap County Sheriff’s deputy reports, burglars broke into the building — currently in the middle of a remodel — by breaking a pane of glass located next to the door knob of a downstairs entrance.
Multiple footprints were seen outside of the door and it appeared someone tried kicking the door in before breaking the glass, the report states.
No alarm was programmed to the office building, located on State Route 104, Winsor said.
“An alarm system is not necessarily a good thing with only one deputy in town,” he said, adding the deputy has a lot of other things on his plate than to respond to business alarms. “It’s not really an effective tool.”
Winsor said he received multiple angry calls regarding the length of time it took to notify clients about the burglary and precautionary steps to take.
Many of the letters were received Aug. 18, six days after the burglary occurred.
“Yeah, it took six days, which is a very quick response considering all my computers were stolen,” he said.
Before Winsor could contact anyone, he said he needed to purchase new computers and reboot software.
“It is unrealistic to contact everyone in two days or less. That is not a realistic expectation,” he said. “I realize not many people are happy about this and I’m not happy about it myself. This is the 25th year we’ve been in business and this is the first time anything like this has ever happened.”
Winsor said more than 100 letters came back as undeliverable from clients who moved within the last eight years without notifying the company.
In dealing with the burglary, Winsor said important nonprofit tax deadlines were missed; however, he said no penalties will be involved considering the circumstances.
“The IRS is good about forgiving in situations like this,” he said.
Winsor said he is upping the security of the business but did not want to divulge changes due to the recent happening.
Winsor also said it was too early to speculate on how the burglary will affect the future of his business.
Although the information on the computers was password protected, Winsor said passwords aren’t foolproof.