On September 5, 2019, Meridian Community College (“MCC”) is providing notice of a recent event that may have affected the privacy of personal information relating to certain individuals. While MCC is unaware of any attempted or actual misuse of personal information in relation to the event, it is providing potentially affected individuals with notice of the event, information about the event, and steps individuals may take to better protect against the possibility of identity theft and fraud, should they feel it is necessary to do so.
What Happened? In late January 2019, MCC became aware of a phishing incident that resulted in the compromise of certain user credentials. MCC immediately began reviewing this activity and commenced a diligent investigation, which included working with third party forensic investigators, to confirm the nature and scope of the activity. On April 12, 2019, this investigation determined that it could not forensically rule out access to certain employee email accounts. Additionally, the forensic investigation could not determine whether specific emails in the potentially affected accounts were subject to unauthorized access. Based on this, in an abundance of caution, MCC, working with third party forensic investigators, undertook a lengthy programmatic and manual review of all the emails and attachments in the potentially compromised email accounts to determine whether the emails and attachments contained any sensitive information. This review concluded on June 25, 2019. MCC then undertook a diligent effort to identify contact information for those individuals whose data was present in the relevant email accounts. Although MCC is unaware of any actual or attempted misuse of personal information, it is providing this notification out of an abundance of caution because personal information was in a potentially affected account at the time of potential unauthorized access.
What Information Was Involved? The information present in the potentiality affected account varies by individual but may include name, Social Security number, driver’s license number, passport number, date of birth, username/email and password, medical treatment information or health insurance information.
What is MCC Doing? The security of the information in MCC’s systems is one of its highest priorities. MCC has security measures in place to protect information in its care. Upon learning of this incident, MCC quickly took steps to confirm the security of its email systems and reset the passwords for all email accounts. MCC also commenced a diligent investigation to determine the nature and scope of this incident. MCC is providing written notice of this incident to those individual whose information was present in the relevant emails accounts and providing information and access to resources those individuals may use to better protect their personal information.
What Potentially Affected Individuals Can Do? Potentially affected individuals can find out more about how to protect against potential identity theft and fraud in the below Steps You Can Take to Protect Personal Information.
For More Information. If you have additional questions regarding this incident, please call our dedicated assistance line at 1-833-680-7832, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am to 6:30 pm Eastern Time.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Personal Information
We encourage you to remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft and fraud, to review your account statements, and to monitor your credit reports for suspicious activity and to detect errors. Under U.S. law, you are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. To order your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228. You may also contact the three major credit bureaus directly to request a free copy of your credit report.
You have the right to place a “security freeze” on your credit report, which will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your express authorization. The security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who gets access to the personal and financial information in your credit report may delay, interfere with or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage or any other account involving the extension of credit. Pursuant to federal law, you cannot be charged to place or lift a security freeze on your credit report. Should you wish to place a security freeze, please contact the major consumer reporting agencies listed below:
In order to request a security freeze, you will need to provide the following information:
- Your full name (including middle initial as well as Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.);
- Social Security number;
- Date of birth;
- If you have moved in the past five (5) years, the addresses where you have lived over the prior five years;
- Proof of current address, such as a current utility bill or telephone bill;
- A legible photocopy of a government-issued identification card (state driver’s license or ID card, military identification, etc.);
- If you are a victim of identity theft, a copy of either the police report, investigative report or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft.
As an alternative to a security freeze, you have the right to place an initial or extended “fraud alert” on your file at no cost. An initial fraud alert is a one-year alert that is placed on a consumer’s credit file. Upon seeing a fraud alert display on a consumer’s credit file, a business is required to take steps to verify the consumer’s identity before extending new credit. If you are a victim of identity theft, you are entitled to an extended fraud alert, which is a fraud alert lasting seven years. Should you wish to place a fraud alert, please contact any one of the agencies listed below:
You can further educate yourself regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, security freezes and the steps you can take to protect yourself by contacting the consumer reporting agencies, the Federal Trade Commission or your state Attorney General.
The Federal Trade Commission can be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20580, www.identitytheft.gov, 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The Federal Trade Commission also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them. You can obtain further information on how to file such a complaint by way of the contact information listed above. You have the right to file a police report if you ever experience identity theft or fraud. Please note that in order to file a report with law enforcement for identity theft, you will likely need to provide some proof that you have been a victim. Instances of known or suspected identity theft should be reported to law enforcement and your state Attorney General. This notice has not been delayed by law enforcement.
For North Carolina residents, the Attorney General can be contacted at: 9001 Mail Service Center; Raleigh, NC 27699-9001; 1-877-566-7226 or 1-919-716-6400; and www.ncdoj.gov.