RU security breach info linked to child health care

February 9, 2007

By Denise Eck, WSLS NewsChannel 10!news!localnews

Some local parents are wondering why Radford University is sending them letters.

Jennifer Jarels got two letters, one for each of her sons, ages 2 and 4. They are obviously not students at Radford University.

But Jarels received two of 2400 letters which warning of a security breach of a computer containing Social Security numbers and birthdates at RU's Waldron School of Health and Human Services.

"How could this have happened?" she asked.

Radford spokesman Rob Tucker said a virus put the information at risk. He said most of the 2400 identities were not RU students but declined to tell who they were or why their information was on an RU computer.

Despite that, NewsChannel 10 found a link between RU and the kids. All the parents we talked to gave their child's personal information when enrolling them in "FAMIS": Family Access to Medical Insurance Security. According to Craig Markva, Director of Communication for Virginia.s Department of Medical Assistance Services, Radford University previously had a privately funded outreach grant to promote the program and assist families enroll in FAMIS and the children's Medicaid program. Markva said DMAS was unaware of any security breach.

The letters suggest parents call each of the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion and put a fraud alert on your child's credit report. When Jarels called, she said an employee of Equifax told her, "Minors do not have credit reports. I thought, well, what am I supposed to do?"

Jarels said that employee suggested she send a copy of each son.s birth certificate and Social Security card to each credit bureau to create a report. Then ask for a fraud alert to be put on that report.

For days, Tucker has answered only the basic questions posed to him by NewsChannel 10 but has refused to do an on-camera interview. In an e-mail Friday, he again emphasized that the university has no proof that any identities were stolen as a result of the breach. He said there is no evidence sensitive information was viewed or obtained. He says, if you have a question, call the Waldron School directly.

Jarels did.

"It sounded like she was just reading off a statement that she was given," she said of the woman who answered the phone. She said she was provided no new information.

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