The University of New Mexico has established a response center to provide additional information about a breach involving a decade old university database that contained names of former students and applicants in a specific program that no longer exists.
The response center is part of a communication plan instituted by UNM staff to provide detailed information to affected individuals. The University is sending letters to persons whose names were listed on the database, offering credit monitoring services and other information. Individuals who believe their personal identifiable information may have been disclosed, and have questions or concerns, may contact the response center at (877) 218-2930, using the reference number 5310082516. The call center is available to answer questions Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. through 5 p.m. Mountain Daylight Savings Time.
The University of New Mexico is working with investigators to determine the extent of an alleged identity theft incident. University officials learned through the media that outside law enforcement agencies had made a fraud arrest and recovered a flash drive containing UNM information. The suspect is accused of using that personal information to create false identifications to illegally purchase merchandise. Although this was initially reported as an employee database, it has been determined that the information was actually collected as part of the administration of the academic program. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service has taken the lead in the law enforcement investigation because investigators believe the suspect also used mail fraud to perpetrate identity theft.
UNM staff believe the database included information such as names, birth dates, social security numbers, address, emails and other data for 1360 applicants and students from a now defunct program within the College of Education. The information was used by a department formerly known as Educational Leadership and Organizational Learning (ELOL) from in the years from about 2000 through 2005.
Individuals who receive a letter and believe their personal information has been compromised may also contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 505 346-8490, or file a report online at postalinspectors.uspis.gov.
UNM no longer uses social security numbers as student identification numbers. In 2006, UNM transitioned to a data system for students called “Banner” which became the secure repository for information collected by academic programs in departments and colleges.
In addition to cooperating with law enforcement as part of the federal investigation, UNM staff will strive to ensure that student information is stored only in the Banner system.