On August 25, 2022, Napa Valley College confirmed that the company suffered a data breach after an unauthorized party gained access to sensitive consumer data contained on NVC’s network. According to NVC, the breach resulted in the compromise of names and social security numbers belonging to certain individuals. Recently, NVC sent data breach letters to all affected parties, informing them of the incident and what they can do to protect themselves against identity theft and other fraud.
If you have received a data breach notification, it is essential that you understand what is at risk and what you can do about it. To learn more about how to protect yourself from fraud or identity theft and what your legal options are following the Napa Valley College data breach, please see our recent article on the subject. here.
What we know about the Napa Valley College data breach
According to an official notice filed by the company, the ransomware group launched an attack against Napa Valley College on or around June 10, 2022. The attack immediately impacted the functionality of the NVC network, rendering the website of school inaccessible and affecting his phone. system and social media accounts. In response, NVC took the necessary steps to secure its network, reported the incident to law enforcement, and launched an investigation into the incident.
After discovering that sensitive consumer data was accessible to an unauthorized party, Napa Valley College then reviewed the affected files to determine what information had been compromised and which consumers had been affected. Although the information disclosed will vary depending on the individual, it may include your name and social security number.
On August 25, 2022, Napa Valley College sent data breach letters to everyone whose information was compromised as a result of the recent data security incident.
Founded in 1942, Napa Valley College, formerly known as Napa Junior College and Napa Community College, is a community college in Napa, California. The college offers a range of degrees in Accounting, Anthropology, Art History, Astronomy, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Communication Studies, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Economics, English, Mathematics, Nursing, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology , theater and viticulture. and winemaking technology. Napa Valley College currently has approximately 6,881 students. Napa Valley College employs more than 538 people and generates approximately $29 million in annual revenue.
Why Consumers Need to Be Extra Careful After Their Social Security Number Leaked
The Napa Valley College data breach resulted in the leaking of names and social security numbers of affected parties. Social security numbers are one of the most common types of data targeted by cyberattacks. This is partly because of the relative ease with which hackers can use SSNs to perform identity theft and other fraud.
Social Security numbers were first introduced by the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) in 1936 as a way for the SSA to track citizens’ incomes. However, since almost every US citizen has their own social security number, over time they have become a way for companies to validate a person’s identity, usually through the last four digits.
While the general practice has moved away from using Social Security numbers for identification, the government still uses them to track citizens’ income. Thus, employers and financial institutions will need a person’s social security number and often use these numbers to verify a customer’s identity. Moreover, the lack of another viable alternative means that other companies also use this information.
In short, social security numbers are “the unofficial national identifier”. So, if someone with bad intentions gets your social security number, they can cause a lot of trouble. From opening bank accounts to taking out loans to filing taxes to receive your tax refund, criminals can take care of your social security number. Thus, it is essential that anyone whose Social Security number has been leaked in a data breach takes the necessary precautions to prevent identity theft and other fraud wherever possible.
The Federal Trade Commission provides basic guidance for data breach victims whose Social Security numbers have been compromised.
If a company offers free credit monitoring, accept the offer;
Frequently check your credit report for any unknown or unauthorized charges;
Consider freezing credit, which makes it much harder for a criminal to open a loan or account in your name;
If you choose not to freeze your credit, consider placing a fraud alert;
Try to file your taxes early to avoid tax identity theft;
Don’t believe anyone calling claiming to be from the IRS, even if they make threats or have your full Social Security number; and
Continue to regularly check your credit report as well as your existing bank and credit card accounts.
Data breach victims who are concerned that their Social Security number may have ended up in the hands of a hacker or other malicious actor should contact a data breach attorney immediately to discuss their options. US data breach laws require any organization storing Social Security numbers to do so with care. Organizations that end up putting this sensitive data in the hands of criminals can be held liable for data breach legal action.