Scholarship Foundation created by Monster.com Founder Exposes 694 students' Personal InformationFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 26, 2007
Media Contact: Aaron Titus
NEW YORK, New York. Hundreds of high school students from Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia may be at extreme risk of identity theft after winning scholarships from the McKelvey Foundation. The scholarship foundation, started by Monster.com founder Andrew McKelvey, placed a massive cache of former McKelvey Foundation Scholarship winners' personal information online. A total of 51 files were discovered by the Liberty Coalition on November 8, 2007, using a major search engine. The files contained thousands of records, and roughly 694 unique names, social security numbers, dates of birth, high school, address, phone number, e-mail address, and other sensitive information. The server indicated that most of the files were last modified as early as March, 2004, indicating that they have probably been available online more than three years. Some of the files were modified as late as April 2007.
The Liberty Coalition notified several hundred of the victims of this breach by e-mail on November 26, 2007. Of the dozens who replied to the Liberty Coalition, none reported that they had been notified of the breach by the Foundation.
Though the McKelvey Foundation removed the files from the server within 24 hours of notification, it may be impossible to determine how many people accessed the files, who has copies of the files, or where they are in the world.
A McKelvey Foundation representative explained that the breach was a mistake, and that they were unaware that the files were online at the time the Liberty Coalition contacted them.
Individuals on these lists are at extreme risk of identity theft and other forms of danger.
Individuals affected by this exposure should immediately visit www.nationalidwatch.org and search for their names, to confirm what types of personal information were exposed. NationalIDWatch.org has a list of recommended steps victims should take.
National ID Watch is a search engine for personal information breaches. Sponsored by the Washington, DC non-profit Liberty Coalition, NationalIDWatch.org provides more than a million free personalized Identity Exposure Reports™ as a public service.
Each Identity Exposure Report (IXR) documents what types of personal information were exposed (such as Social Security Numbers, Birth Dates, Addresses, etc.), without revealing them. Each IXR also details the situation surrounding each exposure, and contact information of those responsible for the breach. Armed with this information, victims can further investigate, take action, or correct harm.