As the old saying goes, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” Recently the Maricopa County Community College revealed that its computers had been hacked and personal information including Social Security numbers and banking information of more than 2.4 million students, former students, employees and vendors covering a period of more than thirty years was compromised. As I have indicated to you in a number of Scams of the day, colleges and universities have been prime targets for hackers because they provide the perfect combination of often lax security and large amounts of personal information. What makes this security breach even more egregious is the fact that Maricopa County Community College was hacked back in 2011, but steps to improve the security of their computer systems were not taken despite the recommendations of employees of the colleges information technology department and their warning that the 2011 breach which only affected 400 people exposed a flaw that could affect many more people.
Presently a class action is being prepared by the Phoenix law firm of Gallagher and Kennedy. If you have been affected by the data breach, you may wish to contact them. You also should check your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com to get your free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion in order to look for evidence of identity theft. You should also consider putting a credit freeze on your credit report to prevent it from being accessed by an identity theft armed with your Social Security. You can find instructions here on the Scamicide website as to how to put a credit freeze on your credit report. This data breach also brings up the question again as to why Maricopa retained personal information on people who have long ago ceased to have a relationship with the college.