Tennessee Tech loses Social Security numbers of 990 students

January 14, 2008

By Colby Sledge


A portable storage drive containing the names and Social Security numbers of 990 Tennessee Tech University students has been lost, according to university officials.

The school notified students today who lived in Capital Quad and Crawford residence halls during the fall 2007 semester that their information could be at risk.

"We don't know that it has fallen into anybody's hands; we don't know where it is," said TTU spokeswoman Monica Greppin. "We're notifying everybody purely as a precaution."

On Jan. 4 a school employee transferred the information onto a portable flash drive when the printer where he was working did not print, Greppin said. The employee was working on letters to send to students, said Greppin, who did not know what the letters were to say.

The employee, who was not named, noticed the drive was missing on the morning of Jan. 5. School officials searched for the drive all last week, Greppin said.

"They wanted to make sure it was lost before we went through process of notifying students," Greppin said.

The school was scheduled to shift over to a new identification system that did not use Social Security numbers by this fall. School officials with Residential Life at the university revised their policies Monday to prohibit storing Social Security numbers on portable devices.

The school will notify the three credit reporting agencies of the incident today, but cannot activate any fraud alerts for individual students, Greppin said. School officials have posted more information on contacting the agencies at http://www.tntech.edu/publicaffairs/securityID.

Last month laptop computers containing the Social Security numbers of 337,000 registered voters in Davidson County were stolen from the county election commission. As of Monday, the computers had not been recovered.

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