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Laptop theft hits 3.3M with student loans
ST. PAUL, Minn. (3/30/10)--Personal data on about 3.3 million people with student loans were stolen from Educational Credit Management Corp. (ECMC) in St. Paul, Minn., a nonprofit guarantor of federal student loans, during the weekend of March 20-21. The information was on a portable media device. It was not a hacking incident--rather, it was a “simple, old fashioned theft,” said ECMC spokesman Paul Kelash (The Wall Street Journal March 29). Sixteen percent of credit unions offered Federal Family Education Loans, and 12% offered private student loans as of December 2008, according to the Credit Union National Association Department of Economics and Statistics. ECMC services and insures about $11 billion in student loans for the Department of Education. The theft could affect up to 5% of federal student loan borrowers, the newspaper said. The incident is the latest in a series of consumer financial data thefts in the past few years. More than 347 million records with sensitive consumer information have been compromised in the U.S. since 2005, according to statistics the newspaper cited by Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. In 2006, about 1.7 million computer records held by Texas Guaranteed Student Loan Corp. were breached, and a U.S. Department of Education website bug compromised data on 21,000 individuals.
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