Although it may be possible the data could be found and accessed by unauthorized individuals, campus officials say they have no evidence that it has been discovered or used by anyone else.
“We are notifying the affected students as a precaution,” said Marc Burnett, vice president for Student Affairs. “We will contact the major credit reporting agencies and inform them that some of our students’ personal information may have been compromised because we want to err on the side of caution.”
However, university officials recommend students on the list place a "fraud alert" on their credit files with the three major credit bureaus. The alert is a free service that will request creditors to verify an individual’s identity before opening a new account. The university also created a web site at www.tntech.edu/securityID to make people aware of the situation and provide information to students about protecting their private information.
“We regret what has happened and apologize for the inconvenience this may cause,” Burnett said. “However, we wanted those students to be fully informed of any potential risk, no matter how small it might be. The Residential Life department and TTU will continually review our processes in order to maintain personally identifiable information in a secure environment.”
Within the year, all of the student information in TTU’s campus databases will move to a new data system that replaces student social security numbers with individually assigned identification numbers.
Campus officials promised to keep students apprised of any further developments.