December 12, 2006

Fraud Alert

I got an email from UCLA today.

UCLA computer administrators have discovered that a restricted campus database containing certain personal information has been illegally accessed by a sophisticated computer hacker. This database contains certain personal information about UCLA’s current and some former students, faculty and staff, some student applicants and some parents of students or applicants who applied for financial aid. The database also includes current and some former faculty and staff at the University of California, Merced, and current and some former employees of the University of California Office of the President, for which UCLA does administrative processing.

I regret having to inform you that your name is in the database. While we are uncertain whether your personal information was actually obtained, we know that the hacker sought and retrieved some Social Security numbers. Therefore, I want to bring this situation to your attention and urge you to take actions to minimize your potential risk of identity theft. I emphasize that we have no evidence that personal information has been misused.

At first I was skeptical that this email actually came from UCLA. I'm not a student there... why would they have my information? I looked at the linked addresses and they were all legitimate. UCLA has a link on their website regarding this incident and their response.

gorram.

I didn't think that applying for medical school would put me at risk for identity theft!

Anytime you give someone your SSN and DOB, it is reasonable to assume that you might become a victim. I have no idea why they were still holding onto my information, but I'm glad that they had the courtesy (and legal responsibility) to inform me that I might be a victim.

I put a fraud alert on my file to prevent anyone from opening up new credit cards in my name. I requested my credit report online too... and whew! No suspicious activity noted.

Here's the crux of this entry: according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, everyone is eligible to a free copy of their credit report every year. The problem is finding out how to do that online without coming across all of those websites that want you to order extra stuff.

Type into google: "site:.gov Free credit report" and the first link is the FTC's Website on Credit. I like using the "site:" feature on google... you can use it to scan for legit resources online with "site:.edu" and stuff like that.

Anyway. I just wanted to give you all a heads up on protecting your credit. How mature of me, eh?

The fraud alert and credit reports are free. Here is the contact information for the fraud divisions of the national credit bureaus:

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  2. What a lamo who left your next comment! I usually check in to read this every so once in a while but I had a nagging question. I was wondering if you could post your thoughts on the broken-heart syndrome that was discovered in a native Hawaiian for the first time. Was it because it was discovered in a the first native Hawaiian that made it fascinating or the fact that he's just a sophomore in med school? I'm all confuseded.

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  3. I think it was a little of both, Lynni. I will try and find the paper to comment on it though... that should be a good topic. :)

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