ECMC, a nonprofit guarantor of federal student loans, recently announced that a portable media device was stolen from a secure area in the company's headquarters during the weekend of March 20-21. The device contained personal information, including names, addresses, birth dates and Social Security numbers, for 3.3 million student loan borrowers.
The stolen information, which did not include savings account, checking account or credit card numbers, may be used by the thieves to apply for loans and credit cards. The information may also be used to assemble lists or portfolios for other identity theft schemes. However, no misuse of the data has been reported as of yet.
ECMC, which is the designated guarantor for loans in Connecticut, Oregon and Virginia, services and insures an estimated $11 billion in federal student loans. Federal officials suspect that the theft could affect more than 5% of federal student loan borrowers in all states.
How to Determine If You Are Affected
The U.S. Department of Education is working closely with ECMC to help students get identity theft insurance and other resources they need to protect their personal information. Affected student loan borrowers will be receiving written notification from the ECMC within the next two weeks. Notifications will include a special code that allows students to get free credit protection services from Experian for 12 months.
If you would like to determine whether or not you are affected now rather than waiting for the notification, you can follow the steps below:
- Visit ECMC online.
- Follow the secure web link on ECMC.com to log in or register for an account.
- Log into your ECMC account. If your account is affected, you will see a notification.
You can also learn more by calling ECMC at 1-877-449-3568 between 9:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. EST. But you must do it personally. The company will only speak to affected individuals (not representatives for the affected individuals) due to legal restraints.