Former Southeast Employee Found in Possession of Computer Data Files

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

June 23, 2008 – Southeast Missouri State University has notified about 800 of its students that a former University employee recently was found in possession of computer data files containing their names and Social Security numbers.

The students were notified via a letter June 19 from Dr. Dennis Holt, vice president for administration and enrollment management.

“The University takes its obligation to safeguard your information seriously, and we have established internal security policies and procedures to ensure that high levels of security are in place,” Holt said. “We deeply regret the concern and inconvenience to you caused by this incident.”

The former employee, he says, left the University in possession of the data. The incident was discovered by the Office of Information Technology while activity logs were being reviewed, Holt said. At that time, University and police investigations were launched. Holt says the data have been recovered, and formal charges have been filed in the state where the former employee now lives.

Students receiving the letters are asked to consider placing a fraud alert on their consumer credit file so creditors will know to be alert for suspicious activity, such as an attempt to open a credit card in their name. The University also suggests the students contact credit bureaus to place a security freeze on their accounts. A security freeze would require an individual’s consent before their credit history could be seen by potential creditors, employers doing background checks or insurance companies.

Southeast is directing those with additional questions to links on the University’s Web site at http://www.semo.edu/identityalert, providing resources and information on measures to protect against identity theft. Those with additional questions after consulting the Web site may call the University at (573) 986-6800 or e-mail identityalert@semo.edu.