Access Group Education Lending, a student loan services company has contacted 16,500 student loan borrowers and co-signers that files containing large amounts of their personal data including their names, driver’s license numbers and, most significantly, their Social Security numbers were mistakenly sent to a company that was not supposed to receive the data. The company that received the files has indicated that it deleted the files. This case highlights that the risk of identity theft comes not merely from companies that hold our personal information becoming victims of data breaches through the actions of outside hackers, but also from companies that merely negligently fail to secure our important data. Personal information is also commonly stolen for purposes of identity theft by rogue employees, as well. Ultimately, the danger of identity theft is present regardless of how personal data is wrongfully obtained and companies must do more to protect us from all of these dangers.
If you have a student loan being serviced by Access Group Education Lending, you should receive a letter from them indicating that you will be provided with free credit monitoring services. This is also a good time to remember that as much as possible that you should limit the places that have your personal information. For instance, physicians routinely ask for you Social Security number although they have no legal need for it. This is also a good time to consider freezing your credit which is the single best thing you can do to protect yourself from identity theft.
To get started, it is best to first understand the laws and fees governing credit freezes in your state. The National Conference of State Legislatures describes the credit freeze laws for each state at this link
To get the maximum protection from identity theft, it is important to freeze your credit at each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Here are links to each of them with instructions about how to get a credit freeze:
Once you have frozen your credit, be sure to keep the PIN and information on how to unfreeze your credit report in a safe place.
If you are not a subscriber to and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”