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A Real Person

Open security lock on credit cards with computer keyboard / Credit card data breach
Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

No one explains the damage that identity fraud can cause better than Jimmy Scott, a Boston, MA police officer. When it comes to fraud, it’s important to not forget, as Scott explains, “There is a real person behind it.” And while the U.S. taxpayer takes the financial hit for the fraud, the greatest victim is the real live person whose life will be crippled by having their identity stolen. The victims of the security breach at Mercer University certainly feel so and are taking action. Two federal class-action lawsuits filed against Mercer University allege that the data breach on the campus database that occurred at the beginning of 2023 exposed personal information for more than 93,000 people, including employees and students.

According to court records, a cyber-attack took place at Mercer University starting February 12, 2023, and lasted for ten days. And the breach was not discovered by the university until April 30, 2023. Those fraudsters were long gone before anyone noticed. The data stolen included names along with personal identifiers such as driver’s license numbers and Social Security numbers.  And that information isn’t sitting on a desk somewhere. Identity thieves sell that data on the black market strictly with the intent for purchaser’s to use commit fraud.

With more than 93,000 new identities available on the black market, one can understand why the victims are mad and alarmed.  Victims have already come forward claiming their personal lives have been compromised. The complaints – all of which ask for a jury trial – include one from visiting Yale professor Jennifer Kilkus, who taught at Mercer University from 2016 to 2018; another from an unnamed alumnus calling themselves John Doe, who says he suffered fraudulent credit card charges after the breach; and another from former student Ping Wang.

Learn more from Jimmy Scott on a new podcast, The FraudKast, on June 27, 2023.

Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on article “Identity thieves can hunt us for ‘rest of our lives,’ claims suit after university data leak” published by The Register on June 6, 2023

An American university founded in 1833 is facing a bunch of class action lawsuits after the personal data of nearly 100,000 people was stolen from its tech infrastructure.

And because the data includes the identity fraud goldmine of the victims’ names and social security numbers (SSNs), one of the lawsuits claims the danger to those affected could continue throughout “their lives.”

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