Metro State Computer With SS Numbers Stolen

March 2, 2007

By Matthew Buettner, Web Producer

College of Denver is working with the Denver and Auraria Police in the investigation of a theft of a computer stolen from campus that contained the names and Social Security numbers of 988 former students.

The laptop computer was stolen from its docking station in the late afternoon of Feb. 28 from a Metro State faculty member's office on the Auraria Campus. The case remains under investigation.

The stolen computer contained roster information of students enrolled in the faculty member's classes from the beginning of the 1999 fall semester to the end of the 2002 fall semester. The stolen computer was password protected.

The names and Social Security numbers of these students may have been compromised through this theft. The Social Security numbers were used as identifiers of the students as they pertained to the faculty member's classes.

Metro State President Stephen Jordan said that this is a very specific incident. "Last spring, it was mandated that all College reports or studies that access private student information, including Social Security numbers, were to be approved through the President's Office," he said, adding, that the College is completing a project to have College-owned laptops turned over to the Information Technology division for review of the data contained on their hard drives.

"It is critical that all employees respect the privacy of student information," said Jordan. "We are completing an investigation as to why Social Security numbers continued to remain on the faculty member's computer. This investigation may lead to disciplinary action," Jordan added.

At this time the campus has no evidence that personal data were actually retrieved or misused. However, Metro State is making every reasonable effort to notify by mail all individuals whose names and Social Security numbers were on the computer and, as a precaution, suggest they consider a fraud alert on their credit reporting.

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