Student SINs could be on stolen University of Guelph hard drives
Published Wednesday, February 13, 2013 2:08PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 13, 2013 6:29PM EST
A break-and-enter at the University of Guelph has school officials unsure how many students may have had their personal data fall into the wrong hands.
Officials at the university say 15 computers and two external hard drives were stolen from the school last month.
The hard drives contained personal information about students and prospective students including their names, addresses, contact information and social insurance numbers – information usually given to the school during the application process.
School officials say the break-in occurred on a weekend, when the area containing the computers is under lock and key. The suspects got around that obstacle by prying the door open.
The school has notified all its 20,000 students about the theft. Officials say they’re unclear on exactly how many people were affected by the theft because they’re unable to determine exactly what information was on one of the stolen hard drives.
“Files on that device are routinely deleted, but it can’t be determined exactly what was on the device the day it was taken,” said school spokesperson Lori Bona-Hunt.
Not knowing exactly who was affected is a cause for concern for many students.
“I’ve already looked into filing for identity theft just in case, so they’ll put a watch on my accounts,” student Jenna Stephens told CTV.
“If someone has my SIN number and my birthdate … they can just do anything with it.”
The Guelph Police Service is investigating the theft along with campus police. Police say the information on the computer is enough to make identity theft a legitimate concern.
“They don’t need much information from you to be able to utilize that information for fraudulent means,” said Const. Michael Gatto.
Anyone with information is asked to contact University of Guelph campus police.
A hotline has been set up for students with questions and concerns over the theft at 519-767-5026. Emails can also be sent.