Identity theft risk widens at Valdosta State

May 22, 2005

Associated Press

VALDOSTA - A computer identity breach at Valdosta State University has widened, with authorities now saying up to 40,000 people could have had their Social Security numbers accessed by a computer hacker last week.

The breach was larger than originally thought, said school spokesman Joe Newton.

The computer server contained information on VSU 1Cards, which are combination identification and debit cards that could be used to buy food or books on campus or check out library materials.

Those at risk are all students since 1997, current employees and those who left from 1997 to 1999, Newton said.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has the hard drive from the computer server and is investigating, he said. Possible victims were urged to alert credit reporting agencies about the breach, which happened Tuesday.

The Valdosta State breach is the second case of identity theft on a state college campus this year.

Last month, officials at Georgia Southern University said a hacker broke into a server that contained thousands of credit card and Social Security numbers collected over more than three years.

That breach placed at risk anyone who made a credit card transaction with the Georgia Southern bookstore since 1996.

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