In what is possibly one of the most embarrassing data breaches in recent history, 37 million account holders on “hookup” site AshleyMadison.com woke up to the devastating news last August that hackers had infiltrated the website and released the members’ names online.
The Home Depot data breach might seem like yesterday’s news to some people, which is understandable considering it happened almost two years ago. Of course, plenty of other big-name breaches have since made headlines over the past few years. But the aftermath of an event like that one isn’t so easy to get over, especially for people who experienced significant financial fallout from the event.
The recent increase in data breaches has many consumers thinking twice about where they do business, where they share their personal information, and how they monitor their finances and credit. But the reality of the changing identity theft landscape is that the “old ways” of identity theft and data breaches are still a threat, even if they’re not as newsworthy as hacking or cybercrimes.
When news of a data breach emerges, victims are warned about the potential for identity theft and related crimes. But every so often, the data breach is only discovered because identity theft has already happened. That was the case for Tidewater Community College (TCC), who had over three thousand employees’ complete employment profiles—with Social Security numbers, birthdates, and other identifiable information—accessed by an unauthorized person.
Financial aid is a crucial part of the college application process, and for many students that means filling out countless applications for scholarships, grants, and loans. Unfortunately, one of the inherent requirements for requesting large amounts of education money is the release of highly sensitive, personal identifying information.