Alert issued after professor misplaces flash drive
Bowling Green State University is notifying current and former students of accounting professor Dr. W. David Albrecht that a computer flash drive with information about them has been lost. Files on the portable storage device contained Social Security numbers for 199 students from his classes in 1992, and the names, grades and University identification numbers—but not the Social Security numbers—for approximately 1,600 other students.
There is no indication that any information on the missing flash drive has been accessed in any way, and there was no system breach or hacking of the University’s computer systems.
Albrecht informed University officials May 30 that after an extensive search, he was unable to locate his computer flash drive. The device contained course syllabi, papers, tests, projects and grades for the undergraduate and graduate-level classes he has taught since 1992— which was the last year BGSU used Social Security numbers for identification. Since then, University students, faculty and staff have been given unique University identification numbers.
“Dr. Albrecht used the device to store information about his courses and he lost it,” said BGSU Chief Information Officer Bruce M. Petryshak. “We don’t believe the flash drive was stolen. It may have been misplaced, lost or destroyed, but we don’t know for sure. That’s why we want to do whatever we can to protect these individuals from having the information used illegally. We deeply regret that the lost device contains personal student information.”
The University has sent letters to those affected and has posted a notice on its Web site encouraging current and former students who may have taken Albrecht’s classes to contact the BGSU College of Business Administration.
BGSU has been monitoring its systems and processes for evidence that information contained on the lost flash drive is being misused, but no such evidence has yet been uncovered.
The University also is offering to purchase a year of services from LifeLockSM for those whose Social Security numbers were on the missing device. LifeLockSM provides identity theft prevention services.
In addition to or instead of using LifeLockSM, individuals may also elect to place a fraud alert with credit bureaus and/or periodically run a credit report to ensure that accounts have not been opened in their name. If an account has been fraudulently created, individuals should immediately contact law enforcement officials and the financial agency concerned.
Albrecht's former and current students who have questions may call a special information phone line the College of Business Administration has set up at 1-800-747-7772 weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
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Media Contact: Teri Sharp, BGSU Media Relations Director, phone 419-372-8587.