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Security incident involving donor records
Released: July 11, 2005

Release # 05056
Contact:
The University of Connecticut Foundation, Inc.
Arthur Sorrentino,
Director of Communications
860-486-6926 (office)
860-429-5087 (home)

STORRS , Conn.– The University of Connecticut Foundation, Inc. is notifying members of the UConn community today that computer backup tapes containing personal information were stored in an unauthorized location.

Based on the Foundation’s investigation, it does not appear that any of the data maintained on these tapes – which includes names, addresses, dates of birth, Social Security numbers and, in a few instances, credit card numbers – has been compromised. The situation came to light during an inventory of the Foundation’s computing equipment.

 “We regret that this incident occurred and are advising our constituents as to the steps we are taking to respond to this issue and the steps they can take to track their financial records over the next several months,” said John Martin, president of the UConn Foundation.

The Foundation maintains an electronic database to assist in its fund raising efforts on behalf of the University. As a standard operating procedure, computer system backup tapes are generated and stored at a secure, offsite location in the event the Foundation building and systems onsite are somehow impaired. Upon discovering in June that the back-up tapes had not been stored at a designated location, the Foundation took immediate steps to retrieve the tapes and place them in an authorized location. An investigation into the matter is ongoing.

There is no indication that any information stored on the tapes was used inappropriately. However, the Foundation decided under the circumstances to notify individuals whose dates of birth, Social Security numbers or credit card information were on the tapes, in order to make them aware of the situation and enable individuals to take steps to safeguard their personal data if they deem it necessary.

In response to the incident, the Foundation has implemented new data security policies and procedures, including provisions to encrypt all data contained on computer back-up tapes. It is also conducting a review of the types of information it retains and is studying additional measures to counter potential illegal access and the use of personal data for fraudulent purposes. Additional security procedures have been instituted to improve inventory and storage controls for back-up tapes.

“The confidentiality of donor records is critically important and the Foundation is making every effort to ensure that confidentiality and maintain the trust of our donors,” said Martin.

Individuals are being notified they may wish to take steps to verify their credit records and protect against identity theft by filing a fraud alert with one of the three national credit reporting agencies. Filing a fraud alert entitles those requesting it to receive a free credit report. If, after a review of their credit report, they believe a fraud or identity theft crime has been committed against them as a result of this incident, they are encouraged to report it to their local law enforcement agency.

Affected members of the UConn community are further advised to take caution with regard to any future request made regarding their personal information. If they suspect that personal information may have been improperly used, they should also file a complaint with the FTC at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft or at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338). Their complaint will be added to the FTC’s Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse, where it will be accessible to law enforcement agencies for their investigations. The FTC also advises on additional steps to take in the event personal information is being used illegally.

In order to answer questions regarding this incident, a special phone line, 860.486.8944 (or toll free, 800.487.5437) has been activated at the Foundation. Individuals are also encouraged to visit www.foundation.uconn.edu for more information.

 

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