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2.4 Million Data Breach Letters Sent by Maricopa Community Colleges

Maricopa Community College District sent notification letters to 2.4 million people in Phoenix, warning them that their identity may have been stolen during an expensive data breach for the organization, Fox affiliate KSAZ reported.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
A community college in Arizona sent notification letters to 2.4 million people saying their data may have been breached, including their Social Security numbers and email addresses.

Maricopa Community College District sent notification letters to 2.4 million people in Phoenix, warning them that their identity may have been stolen during an expensive data breach for the organization, Fox affiliate KSAZ reported.

Potential victims include current and former students in addition to the colleges' employees and vendors, KJZZ​, the National Public Radio station in Phoenix, said. While resident Jerry Martinez is one of the millions who received the letter, he doesn't appear to have a connection to the college. Martinez is unsure how his information could have been breached since he had not been a student of Maricopa Community College.

The data breach, which happened in April, could cost the Maricopa Community College District up to $14 million, according to KJZZ. Since the data breach, the district's board has approved money for system rehabilitation to repair security flaws as well as assistance to individuals who may have had their information compromised, which includes providing them one year of free credit monitoring.

The notification said Martinez's personal information was taken, including his date of birth, Social Security number and email address. In addition to personal data, potential data breach victims were also alerted to the possibility that their financial information was also taken.

Tom Garriepy, spokesman for Maricopa Community College District, told KSAZ he has received calls from people asking why they are being told their personal information had been breached.

"And we're taking each of these calls - taking their information and we're checking in our databases to find out why it is that their names were in there," said Garriepy, according to KSAZ.

While the district is notifying people of the data breach out of caution, Garriepy said the organization has improved its security and there is no evidence that information was used fraudulently. 



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