A few of this week's Incidents of "reported" data loss...

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UMD Released Students' Social Security Numbers

The University of Maryland said Thursday they accidentally released the addresses and social security numbers of thousands of students. The University of Maryland's Department of Transportation Services sent all students, a total of more than 23,000, registered for classes a brochure with on-campus parking information. It was sent by U.S. Mail.

The University discovered the labels on the mailing had the students' social security numbers on it as well. The brochure was sent using third class delivery and some students may still have not received the item.

The University said they apologized and deeply regretted the mistake. "We are initiating immediate action to ensure that this error does not recur. We strongly recommend that you take appropriate precautions to mask, black out or destroy this document after use," stated an e-mail, signed by DOTS Director David Allen.

The mailings were sent out July 1, but the problem was not discovered until July 8. A  website was to be set up in response to the mistake. The university is offering free credit reports to students for free.


Bristol-Myers: Tape With Workers' Personal Data Was Stolen

Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) said a backup computer-data tape containing employees' personal information, including Social Security numbers, was stolen recently.

The New York drug maker learned of the theft on June 4, and began notifying current and former employees by letter in the past few days, spokeswoman Tracy Furey told Dow Jones Newswires Thursday afternoon.

It was the latest in a series of security breaches involving customer or employee data in the corporate world. A Bristol-Myers rival, Pfizer Inc. (PFE), said last year that personal data for some of its current and former employees were exposed.

Social Security Numbers Breached in University of Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) -- The personal information of almost 2500 University of Texas students and faculty has been exposed on the Internet.

An independent watchdog discovered more than five dozen files containing confidential graduate applications, test scores, and social security numbers.

The files were inadvertently posted by at least four different UT professors to a file server for the School of Biological Sciences.

The files were discovered in January 2008 and University officials restricted access to the files at that time, but copies remained in the Yahoo search engine caches until at least late May.

The person who made the discovery says it indicates systemic deficiencies in the way the University trains staff and scans servers for sensitive information.


Breach puts Missouri soldiers' personal data at risk

The Missouri National Guard has called for a criminal investigation after it learned that the personal information of as many as 2,000 soldiers had been breached.

"I am distressed that sensitive information has been compromised," Major General King Sidwell said in a prepared statement.

"I am especially concerned about the problems and inconveniences this may cause for our Missouri National Guard Citizen-Soldiers and their families," King said.

The Guard would not release how the personal information had been taken -- whether by computer hackers or other means -- because it has asked for a "full law enforcement investigation into the matter, the statement said.


Metro Mistakenly Publishes Employees' Social Security Numbers

WASHINGTON -- Metro accidentally published the Social Security numbers of almost 4,700 past and present employees on its Web site last month, according to the transit agency.

The numbers were posted with a solicitation to companies for workers' compensation and risk management services. They were online from June 9 until June 25.

The employees received a letter warning them about the breach. Metro is providing them with a year of free credit report monitoring, $25,000 in identity theft insurance and counseling services.

The employees are being urged to watch their credit reports for signs of identity theft. Officials are continuing to analyze the solicitation in case of other data breaches.


I can't help but notice that each time one of the many data breaches occur, those who may be affected are offered free credit report monitoring. With the continued reports of lost data, hacked information, of course the recently reported rings of criminals using "skimming" devices on ATM's and the ease of obtaining card readers, are just a few of the reasons people should ensure they are taking the preventative steps necessary to lessen the odds and impact of an id theft. Scrambling around after the fact, can be damaging and costly for your family.

Don't be caught off guard! Protect your identity, time, money (& sanity) before it's too late. If you can't take the time to do so yourself --then hire a company who offers proactive and restorative services to take on that burden. 

Our identities are at risk 24/7. I want to ensure that when an identity theft occurs (again) someone will be there to do the clean up work for me! Have a plan of action so that when you receive a notice that your information has been put at risk -you know what to do!

For more info and tips on how to figure out the best way to protect your personal information, search this blog for earlier posts...here are a couple to get you started:

Identity Theft: Kids are just as much at risk at you!

Free Credit Monitoring & Credit Score...How Good is it?

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