UVa Social Security Leak Broadcasts 18,700 Student Numbers

UVa Social Security leak reports have once again plagued University of Virginia officials in a disturbing trend of broadcasting student social security numbers, according to a Wednesday report from The Daily Progress.

This time around, it appears that the university sent out approximately 18,700 student social security numbers via the address labels of health insurance brochures that were mailed out across the country.

The report noted that school officials provided numbers along with unspecified additional info to Aetna Health Care, which in turn mailed open-enrollment brochures to students’ homes by way of a third-party mail vendor.

Digits appeared directly above students’ names. Though not identified as social security numbers, they are “definitely easily visible if you know what you’re looking for,” said Andrew Elliott, one of the students to receive a brochure. “It isn’t separated by the little dashes, but it still looks like a Social Security number.”

(Elliott is also the editor of the Cavalier Daily — the school newspaper — which initially broke the screw-up prior to The Daily Progress report.)

In an official statement, university spokesman McGregor McCance — wouldn’t want his job right now — said the university “certainly regrets that this exposure occurred” and said the school is trying to notify all students affected by the identity compromise.

Aetna spokeswoman Cynthia Michener said the company found out about the data breach earlier in the week and was working with the school to notify students of the UVa social security leak. “We are trying to do the right thing,” Michener said.

McCance said affected students would be provided with free credit monitoring and assistance and said the school is hoping to ensure “that such an incident will not occur again.”

Good luck with that.

In addition to this UVa social security leak, the University of Virginia Medical Center, in December, lost a hand-held device containing medical and personal information of patients treated by Continuum Home Infusion between August 2007 and last September, The Daily Progress noted.

The device “might have contained” names, diagnoses, addresses, medications, and Social Security numbers of an unspecified number of the hospital’s patients.

Another UVa social security leak occurred in June when 350 grade transcripts were “accidentally” posted to a UVa website.


Five years earlier, the university discovered that hackers had accessed 5,735 current and former faculty member records for a two-year period, along with (you guessed it) Social Security numbers and dates of birth.

And last but not least, The Daily Progress notes this little gem from 2006: “a spreadsheet listing the Social Security numbers of 632 students was sent to other students in an apparent computer programming error. The computer was supposed to email 1,264 notices to students facing blocks on university accounts, but inadvertently emailed the Social Security numbers of some students to others on the list.”

(Anyone get a sense the NSA is screwing with college students in Virginia? Then again, it is the government. They’re not that smart.)

One good thing about the UVa social security leaks: we’re pretty sure the school has one of the best free credit counseling programs in the country by now.

What do you think has been causing the UVa social security leaks?

[Image via spirit of america / Shutterstock.com]