College sends nearly 2.4M letters concerning identity theft - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

College sends nearly 2.4M letters concerning identity theft

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) -

Millions of people in the valley are receiving concerning letters in the mail, warning them that their identities may have been stolen.

It's all part of a possible security breach -- databases of Maricopa Community College computers.

But now we're learning people who say they've never attended a Maricopa Community College or had any connection to them are also receiving the letters.

Last month, we first reported on that possible security breach.  Now millions of people are getting letters in the mail, letting them know they may have been exposed.

But a lot of those people have no connection at all to the college and they have no idea why they received the letters -- if this was a mistake or if they really are at risk.

Nearly 2.4 million letters were sent out over the past few weeks by the Maricopa County Community College District.

It's a letter no one would want to get in their mailbox, but it's exactly what Jerry Martinez found this week.

"Yes I got it yesterday, it was in the mail, I was kind of scared because it had my personal information on there," he said.

It is a letter from the Maricopa Community College District notifying Jerry that his personal information, along with that of nearly 2.4 million others, may have been exposed in a major security breach.

"My social security, my phone number, my e-mail address and my phone number.. and date of birth also," he said.

Jerry says he's never been a student at MCC and never even applied, so he has no idea how his information may have been taken.

And he's not alone, a MCCD spokesman tells FOX 10 they've received many calls from people like Jerry who received the letter -- even though they've never had any connection to the colleges.

"And we're taking each of these calls -- taking their information and we're checking in our databases to find out why it is that their names were in there," said MCCD's Tom Garriepy.

District officials first found out in late April that the security on its databases may have been breached.

The spokesman told FOX 10 they sent the letters out of an abundance of caution.

"We don't know that anyone ever had their taken and used. We have no evidence to prove that their data was taken and used but we can't prove that it wasn't," said Garriepy.

The district found out about the potential breach in April and has made security improvements to keep it from happening in the future.

"We ave improved our systems so that our overall security within IT is better than it ever has been," said Garriepy.

Bank account information was also was exposed according to the district, which is offering free credit monitoring for a year and help from experts if anyone's identity was actually stolen.

Follow this story: Student, worker data at risk at Maricopa colleges

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