Local News

Security breach affects people with student loans

Posted April 14, 2010 1:42 p.m. EDT

— Personal information of about 97,000 North Carolina residents with student loans was compromised during a recent security breach, officials said Wednesday.

Data was reportedly stolen from the Minnesota headquarters of Educational Credit Management Corp. on March 20 or 21, officials said. The data included the names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers of 3.3 million student loan borrowers nationwide. Bank account or credit card numbers were not included.

ECMC is notifying North Carolina consumers whose information was lost and offering them one free year of credit monitoring, Attorney General Roy Cooper said. More than 230 people who were notified have contacted the Consumer Protection Division in Cooper's office since last Friday.

“Finding out that your data has been lost or stolen is scary, but there are some simple things you can do to protect yourself, like placing free security freezes on your credit,” Cooper said in a statement.

In addition to accepting free credit monitoring or other services offered by ECMC, he recommended that people who get a security breach notification alert credit bureaus, consider freezing their credit to prevent new accounts from being opened in their names and continue checking their credit frequently.

“With just a few key pieces of information, an identity thief can pretend to be you and run up debts in your name,” he said. “If you learn that your information may be in the wrong hands, act fast to protect yourself.”