UH issues identity theft alert

Former employee indicted by federal government had access to information

University of Hawaiʻi
Carolyn Tanaka, (808) 956-9803
External Affairs & University Relations
David Lassner, (808) 956-3501
Information Technology Services
Posted: Jun 17, 2005

HONOLULU — University of Hawaiʻi officials are strongly encouraging current and former students, faculty, staff, affiliates and patrons at all of its 10 campuses to take protective measures against identity theft. At a minimum, individuals are advised to obtain free credit reports and to monitor their personal accounts for unusual activity.

The measure follows the recent notification by federal law officials of the indictment of a former library employee at UH Mānoa on bank fraud charges stemming from identity theft. The federal indictment arose from the suspect‘s application for financial aid at UH and is not related to activities as a university employee.

During 2003, the suspect had access to the university‘s library patron database, which contained personal information, including social security numbers. With the assistance of the U.S. Attorney‘s Office and the U.S. Secret Service, the university is working to assess whether the suspect‘s access to personal information during the course of employment at UH may have been used in any cases of identity theft.

Individuals who were UH students, faculty, staff or affiliates between 1999 and 2003, as well as community patrons of any UH campus library may be at risk. Those who are known to be at particular risk are being contacted directly by the university.

"Security breaches of personal information are a growing national problem that has been hitting major data consolidators, financial institutions and colleges and universities. We are taking this issue very seriously and strongly advise our staff, students, faculty and other affiliates associated with the university system to, at a minimum, obtain and review their credit report, which is now free under federal law," said David Lassner, UH chief information officer.

The university has been actively working to strengthen its policies and procedures to protect sensitive information and has already instituted the use of a new unique identification number for all students, faculty and staff. The use of social security numbers is being phased out in all non-essential activities, particularly since the implementation of a new student information system in 2002.

Information about how to obtain free credit reports, links to additional information about identity theft, and other safety measures is available at: http://www.hawaii.edu/idalert.

About the University of Hawaii
Established in 1907 and fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the University of Hawaiʻi is the state‘s sole public system of higher education. The UH System provides an array of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees and community programs on 10 campuses and through educational, training, and research centers across the state. UH enrolls more than 50,000 students from Hawaiʻi, the U.S. mainland, and around the world. For more information, visit http://www.hawaii.edu.

For more information, visit: http://www.hawaii.edu/idalert