Parents Take Action After 14,000 Student Details Lost on Stolen Drive 2/3/14
CBS 7 News
February 3, 2014
MIDLAND-“That’s scary, where else are they failing to protect our children’s information and security?” said Midland ISD Parent Charlotte Dixon.
Dixon is on high alert after social security numbers and birthdates for around 14,000 students may be compromised.
The Midland Independent School District says a hard drive and laptop were stolen out of an administrator's car just over a week ago.
The hard drive contained social security numbers and birthdates of current and past Midland students.
There are steps parents can take to try and protect children after this kind of information comes out, but it's not easy and in this case, there's no taking back what's been stolen.
This Midland mother types away trying to find out more details about identity theft of children -- her son is a sophomore at Midland High and one of those whose private details were on a stolen hard drive.
“It’s not something you think about with your kids, maybe in college when they start applying for credit cards but at this age—especially the 7th and 8th graders—they don’t have credit,” said Midland ISD Parent Charlotte Dixon. “So it could be five to ten years down the road and this will still affect them.”
So charlotte is taking action by contacting credit companies to monitor her son's score. But with a minor, it isn't easy.
"You have to submit a copy of their birth certificate, social security card, proof of your guardianship and a letter explaining why this is a problem so they can post a fraud alert there,” Dixon said.
MISD says every electronic device will now be protected with a password. Little comfort for this mom.
“Unlike say if they had a credit card and someone stole it, you can cancel the credit card,” Dixon said. “You can’t cancel a social security number which is attached to a name and date of birth. 20 years from now, someone could come across that and try to use it.”
Now you may be wondering what identity thieves could do with a name, birthdate and social security number. According to the Federal Trade Commission, they can drain a bank account, apply for credit cards, try and get medical treatment on your child’s health insurance. They could even give your child's name to police during an arrest.
MISD sent letters today to those impacted.
They say the employee who was involved will face disciplinary action.
If your son or daughter might have fallen victim to this theft, there are three major companies you should contact to put a fraud alert on their credit.
Equifax, Experian or Transunion Corporation.
CBS 7 News
February 3, 2014
Midland - According to the Midland Independent School district, personal identification of thousands of students has been stolen. Officials say an administrator had a laptop and external hard drive in their car that had social security numbers and birthdates of the students.
It’s not a small number of students affected either, officials say information about 14 thousand of their students could now be floating around Midland, making them a potential victim to identity theft. Names, social security numbers and birthdates of both current and former students, were all stolen out of the back of an administrator’s car.
“I’ve got to do a better job to make sure that everything we have is protected, you know I can’t stop thefts and we can’t stop these kinds of thieves and I’m sorry that we are going to have to deal with that right now,” said MISD Superintendent Dr. Ryder Warren.
On January 23rd Warren says the administrator was bringing the gadgets home to do some extra work outside of school when she noticed the items had been taken. She immediately contacted the police, and in hopes to retrieve the data and determine who exactly the victims were, administrators held off on telling parents.
“We were waiting on the police to see if we could recover anything, and you know we worked on this last week and then I made the decision we needed to contact the parents now,” said Ryder.
Warren says after this incident every gadget, whether it be an I-phone or external hard drive owned by the school will now have to have some sort of password on the device to prevent anything like this from happening again.
The following is a press release from Midland ISD:
Please be aware that Midland ISD is notifying parents and guardians of an unauthorized information release of selected current and former students’ information.
A computer theft caused the information breach, and MISD is working with the Midland Police Department following the incident.
Current and former MISD students’ Social Security numbers and dates of birth could potentially be used fraudulently. MISD encourages students and/or families to place a fraud alert on their credit lines and to contact at least one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion Corp.).
As the superintendent of schools, I deeply apologize for any inconveniences that may result from the theft. We are reviewing (and if needed – changing) all district-wide safety measures to help further ensure the security of confidential information in the future. MISD prioritizes the privacy and safety of students and families.
The following is the letter Midland ISD superintendent sent out to parents:
January 31, 2014
To current and former MISD parents or guardians,
This letter is being sent to you as a formal notice that personal information relating to your student, and maintained in a database by Midland ISD, may have been compromised by a recent theft. This notice constitutes the disclosure required under Section 521.053 of the Texas Business & Commerce Code.
On January 23, 2014, MISD was informed that a computer and an external hard drive which contained sensitive personal identifying information was stolen. A police report was immediately filed. MISD believes your student’s name, Social Security number and date of birth may have been contained within the files on the external hard drive.
At this time, MISD has no knowledge that your student’s name or personal identifying information has been accessed or misappropriated.
As part of the report to the Midland Police Department, we reported all of the names of those who could be affected. Your student’s name was included in this group reporting process. By reporting as a group, individually submitted police reports are not necessary.
Possible use of your student’s personal identifying information by unauthorized individuals may result in financial loss to your student. Please refer to the following web sites for helpful information:
For your benefit and protection, we recommend that you place a fraud alert on your credit line. A fraud alert tells creditors to contact you before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts. We suggest you call any of one of the three major credit bureaus.
TransUnion Corp 1-800-680-7289
We certainly hope that you and your student do not experience any problems as the result of this incident. However, if you do notice fraudulent activity, please contact the Midland Police Department. If you have any questions or need further information please contact Leah Robertson at 432-689-1025.
Dr. Ryder Warren, Superintendent
Midland Independent School District