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Southeast Missouri State Says Former Employee Took Student Data

Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, MO has notified about 800 of its students that a former university employee recently was found in possession of computer data files containing their names and Social Security numbers.

The students were notified via a letter June 19 from Dennis Holt, VP for administration and enrollment management.

"The University takes its obligation to safeguard your information seriously, and we have established internal security policies and procedures to ensure that high levels of security are in place," Holt said. "We deeply regret the concern and inconvenience to you caused by this incident."

The former employee, he said, left the university in possession of the data. The incident was discovered by the Office of IT while activity logs were being reviewed. At that time, university and police investigations were launched. Holt said the data has been recovered, and formal charges have been filed in the state where the former employee now lives.

Students receiving the letters were asked to consider placing a fraud alert on their consumer credit file so creditors would know to be alert for suspicious activity, such as an attempt to open a credit card in their name. The university also suggested the students contact credit bureaus to place a security freeze on their accounts. A security freeze would require an individual's consent before their credit history could be seen by potential creditors, employers doing background checks or insurance companies.

Southeast also set up an FAQ on its Web site and an e-mail address and phone hotline to address additional concerns.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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