Personal information for more than 100,000 lost

By Melissa Correa - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A consumer alert -- personal information for more than 100,000 people is lost.   It involves people who completed adult education classes.

It may be small, but it stores lots of information. Like data on more than 100,000 people who took adult education courses. On September 21, the State Department of Education handed one off to a Virginia Tech research group. Somewhere along the way, it disappeared.

For days teams of people searched the Monroe Building looking for that little piece of technology. They even posted up flyers like this one in the hopes somebody would spot the flashdrive and return it.

"They weren't able to locate the flashdrive," says Charles Pyle, spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Education.  He says there's no indication the names or social security numbers have been accessed or used. Still the state deemed the missing drive a breech of data.

"The prudent thing to do is to go ahead and notify everyone who's information was stored on that flashdrive."

During the last few weeks, employees matched the names on the flashdrive with addresses in the department's files.

Of those, the nearly 78,000 were sent warning letters. The state doesn't have addresses for the remaining 26,000. So if you completed an adult education course between April 2007 and June 2009 you need to monitor your credit. People who passed their high school equivalency tests between January 2001 and June 2009 should also be concerned.

"The data on that flashdrive were not encrypted. That was a violation of agency policy.  We now prohibit the use of flashdrives for the transfer of sensitive information."

Virginia Department of Education: 1-877-347-5224

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