Multi-billion dollar education tech company Chegg—which specializes in digital and print textbook rentals, as well as online homework help solutions—announced it suffered another data breach. This Chegg data breach impacted approximately 700 of its employees. It marked the third data breach of Chegg or its acquisitions since 2018.
Unlike the 2018 Chegg data breach, which compromised the account records of an estimated 40 million users, this breach affected current and former employees. Those employees’ personally identifiable information is believed to have been stolen, including their names and Social Security numbers. Another data breach was disclosed in 2019, days after Chegg acquired another platform, Thinkful.
There’s been speculation that sites like Chegg could become more of a target for hackers now that so many educational institutions are closed due to COVID-19. Having transferred their learning to internet-based distance learning options, students and professors alike have been taking greater advantage of online homework and test prep help. The increase in traffic could lead hackers to go after these companies to steal identities or payment methods. However, there is no proof that Chegg has become more of a target or that the latest Chegg data breach is due to schools being closed.
Chegg notified the affected employees of the recent breach, and under California law, the employees are entitled to some protective measures. Anyone who has had their information compromised in any type of data breach should consider requesting a no-cost freeze on their credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. While it may take a few more steps when a consumer is looking to apply for credit, a freeze is one of the most robust preventative measures a person can implement to safeguard their identity credentials. Also, consumers who are concerned about the security of their personally identifiable information can look for credit monitoring and identity theft solutions that will keep them informed if anyone uses their data.
Victims of the Chegg data breach should also file their tax returns as soon as possible. With the delay in the filing deadline due to disruption caused by COVID-19, a significant number of taxpayers could choose to put off filing until things are more stable and they can safely visit a tax preparer. While it is one less thing to worry about right now, it is also a longer timeframe for identity thieves to file a fraudulent tax return in someone else’s name.
Anyone who thinks they are a victim of the Chegg data breach can live chat with an Identity Theft Resource Center expert advisor. They can also call toll-free at 888.400.5530.