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UVA Students' Social Security Numbers Risked In Mailing Mishap

07/18/2013 04:55 pm ET

Thousands of students at the University of Virginia had their Social Security numbers exposed, the Cavalier Daily reports, putting them at risk of identity theft.

Aetna Student Health, which provides health insurance to students who buy coverage through the school, sent to 18,700 UVA students a brochure that had their Social Security number printed above their name. The university has 21,000 students total.

UVA officials learned of the error last week, and announced that it will provide affected students with free credit monitoring.

"Our focus is on notifying those affected, providing them information regarding credit monitoring and assistance, and ensuring that such an incident will not occur again," university spokesman McGregor McCance told the Cavalier Daily.

UVA students are not happy.

"Dude, you only have one job," UVA senior Hilde Franklin told the Daily Progress.

UVA student Shamecca Perkins told WVIR, "Out of all the places for you to get your identity stolen, your Social Security number, you think it would be the Internet or something like that but it's your university?"

The Progress also noted that this is not the first time that UVA community has had its sensitive personal information compromised: Last year a hand-held device containing five years' worth of records for patients treated by Continuum Home Infusion disappeared from the UVA Medical Center; in June 2012, "human error" resulted in the appearance of 350 student transcripts on a university website; and five years prior to that, the university discovered that hackers had spent two years rummaging in the records of more than 5,000 current and former faculty members.

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