VCU computer stolen

A desktop computer, containing the personal information of current and former students of Virginia Commonwealth University, was recently stolen from a school library.

How many victims?

What type of personal information? Names, Social Security numbers and test scores dating from October 2005 to the present.

What happened? The computer was part of a scanning system used to score tests and record grades for many university classes. It was stolen from a secure area -- in a locked area within a locked room -- at Cabell Library in mid-Arpil. It was discovered missing less than a day after the theft.

Campus police know who stole the computer but have been unable to recover it. Mark Willis, VCU's chief information officer, told the Richmond Times Dispatch the computer was taken for personal use and then disposed of.

The computer was thrown away and not sold, Lepley said.

Details: Up until January 2007, VCU used Social Security numbers as school identification numbers.
22,500 additional students are being notified that their names and test scores may have been on the computer. No Social Security numbers were recorded with those names, but computer-generated student ID numbers may have been.

What was the response? VCU is offering one year free identity-theft insurance to affected individuals. The case has been turned over to the commonwealth's attorney's office.

Source:, Richmond Times Dispatch, “Stolen VCU computer exposes Social Security numbers,” June 5, 2009.

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