Thursday, December 14, 2006

UCLA Suffers Largest Identity Theft Ever

In what lasted for over 13 months, the University of
California - Los Angeles (UCLA) was the victim of
unauthorized computer database access effecting
800,000 people.


UCLA-Suffers-Largest-Identity-Theft-Ever-audio-post - click to play

Those impacted were students, faculty and staff members
both past and present. In a letter sent today by the
acting chancellor to all those effected, the computer
database break in occurred from October 2005
through
November 21, 2006.

Some cases date back to the early 1990s.

Beyond just staff and students though, this break-in also
effected
applicants the past 5 years who did not
enroll at the university
.

Plus, some parents of students or applicants who had applied for
financial aid.

Even 3,200 of those being notified are current or former staff and
faculty of UC Merced and current or former staff of UC's Oakland
headquarters.

UCLA handles administrative processing for both groups.

"We take our responsibility to safeguard
personal information very seriously,"

Among the data prized by identity thieves everywhere, the hackers
gained access to the following highly confidential information:

  • Names
  • Home addresses
  • Social security numbers (ssn)
  • Dates of birth (dob)

Basically, with these type of data, even a relatively novice identity
theft fraudster can easily open up new accounts during this
holiday shopping season and likely the evidence of it would not be
uncovered until months afterwards.

So, our tip for today is if you or anyone you know who was a student,
student applicant, or faculty member of the UCLA dating back to the
early 1990's, contact the university's special toll free hotline
immediately.

Also, given the rather lengthy amount of time since the initial
break in by the computer hackers (Oct., 2005), it would be wise
to also quickly contact any of the three national credit bureaus
to place a fraud alert and/or credit freeze (depending on
what state you currently reside in) on your file.

UCLA can be contacted on their special toll-free line of
(877) 533-8082 -or- on their special identity theft
announcement website.

5 Comments:

At 3:07 PM, Anonymous Nathan Kully said...

For a school of its prestige and size, its a shame that they would allow this to go on for 13 months and steal nearly a million identities. UCLA receives more applicants than any university in the world, whch makes this an even bigger deal since apparently many applicants got thrown into this mess. Considering there are over 5,000 faculty members and 10,000 new students each fall, these 800,000 must go back a long time.

The UC program is one of the finest public school systems in the country, you'd think that they would pay more attention to their pride in Westwood.

 
At 4:34 AM, Blogger agent99 said...

Nathan K said:

"For a school of its prestige and size, its a shame that they would allow this to go on for 13 months and steal nearly a million identities."
-------------

Yes, we agree. Identity theft, however, has proven to be characteristic of many prestigious organizations across business, government, & medical industries.

It seems the larger and more departmentalized the organization, the more susceptible they are to security breaches which lead to identity theft and it's usual subsequent credit fraud.

The bottom line here, unfortunately, the prior public relations & good will practiced by the major brands and organizations is no insurance at all to identity theft based security lapses.

If even anything, identity thieves are drawn to the larger organizations for that same appeal as well as large opportunity to collect many more identities in a single attack.

The remedy, then, is to take matters into your hands and utilize denial and detection methods to minimize your overall potential to becoming an identity theft victim from the next big security lapse.

 
At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Nathan Kully said...

agent said:

"It seems the larger and more departmentalized the organization, the more susceptible they are to security breaches which lead to identity theft and it's usual subsequent credit fraud."

Do you think that these larger companies are more susceptible to credit fraud than smaller companies or do we just hear more about them? There are so many occurances that go unseen/unheard to the common audience that we have no idea how many actually occur each and every day.

You say that the remedy is to take matters into our own hands, however the problem is we don't know how to utilize those those detection methods. All we hear about is the same 5-10 rules of thumb on how to protect ourselves, however most of us are part of numberous organizations/corporations whose security practices we have no control over.

 
At 7:00 AM, Blogger agent99 said...

A reader asked:

Do you think that these larger companies are more susceptible to credit fraud than smaller companies or do we just hear more about them?
----

Yes, the larger companies tend to get more public exposure with their consumer disclosures and the fact that government and medical institutions typically are not required to do likewise.

Regarding your question on what what you can do to protect yourself as part of a larger organization you can:

1) Visit your H.R. department to self audit your personel file for FACTA compliance for secure storgage and disposal.

2) Check your file for any errors in your personal information on file or that has changed by requesting a copy of the background check report.

3) Find out where they share your personal information with external organizations and contact those directly for their privacy and data handling policies.

4) Request your company pay for your credit monitoring service as a way to lower their insurance liability to FACTA.

5) Eliminate your SSN and/or DMV number from outdated documents or those which no longer require that confidential information.

6) Shred any old documents such as expense reports which also may contain your personal information such as credit card receipts.

 
At 12:54 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

Thanks Agent, i really appreciate those tips. It really is a shame that we now must take these numerous steps just to HOPEFULLY prevent ourselves from fraud.

I understand that personal protection is really the best way to assure yourself protection, it is just a shame that we all must focus on ourselves because our companies aren't doing nearly as much as they should be to protect their own employees.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home