U.S. News: June 2008 Data Breaches - Consumers Beware
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Data Breach Update: June 6, 2008


The superintendent of Pocono Mountain School District in Pennsylvania said that a hacker had apparently broken into the district's computer system and accessed the confidential information of 11,000 students and their parents, according to a report by the Morning Call. The school district notified the police and sent letters to parents to advise them of the data breach. The district says that the hacker could have accessed student information such as birth dates, Social Security numbers, student IDs and home phones. The parents' names, phone numbers and emergency phone numbers could also have been breached.

The personal information of approximately 1,000 patients of Walter Reed Army Medical Center may have been exposed in a recent security breach, according to an Associated Press report. Officials said that they learned of the security problem on May 21, 2008 from an unidentified outside company. The medical center is working to notify all of the people who may be affected by the data breach.

In Connecticut, state labor officials say that records containing personal and confidential information of approximately 2,100 people have been lost. The lost files contained copies of letters informing applicants that they were ineligible for unemployment insurance. Officials say that the files could have been mistakenly shredded, according to a NewsDay report. The files were dated between May 2 and May 20, 2008 and contained the names, addresses and Social Security numbers of the applicants. Those who may have been affected in the data breach are being offered two years of free credit monitoring services, fraud alerts and identity theft protection. All of these offers are also helpful in preventing bankruptcy.

United Healthcare, the provider for University of California, Irvine's graduate student health insurance program has admitted that it was the source of identity thefts of past and present UCI graduate and medical students, according to a report by New University. In February, when some UCI students began attempts to file their income tax returns electronically, they were informed by the IRS that their tax returns had already been filed. Approximately 115 cases of identity theft of UCI students have been reported and all were participants in the graduate student health insurance program. UCI says that it will provide students with a guide to prevent identity theft and fraud in the future and the school's financial aid office has set up emergency loans for victims of identity theft who have experienced financial problems due to the delay in receiving their income tax refunds and tax rebate checks.

Verizon mistakenly sold information including the unlisted telephone numbers of almost 13,000 people to a phone book publisher, causing the unlisted numbers to be published in the Washington County Phone Book. The phone book printed by Ogden Directories Inc. included the unlisted telephone numbers and addresses, primarily of people who live in Washington County, Pennsylvania. A Verizon spokesperson told the Herald-Mail that the company takes responsibility for the breach and apologizes to those people who are affected. Verizon has begun the task of calling people who have had their unlisted numbers published to let them know about the mistake. The company will offer to change the customers' numbers for free and reimburse the $1.89 monthly fee for having an unlisted number to these customers for a period of one year.

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