College application SSNs expose security risk

Tim Goral's picture
Friday, July 25, 2014

Applying for college involves a mountain of data -- GPAs, ACTs, SATs, essays, the list goes on. But NBC 5 Investigates found there are nine numbers students are routinely asked for that they do not have to offer up during the preliminary admissions process, and some experts say they should refuse to include -- their Social Security Number.

River Forest college student Maddie Schimmel recently received a startling letter in the mail from a university she applied to, but never attended.

"I didn't expect to hear from Butler University after not going to Butler," Schimmel told NBC 5 Investigates. The letter, sent to 163,000 people affiliated with Butler University in Indianapolis, outlined a security breach which snared the personal information of current and past students, employees-, and even students who applied there but never stepped foot on campus.

"I was surprised I was still in their system, too, because I didn't need to be. So I don't know why they still had my information," Schmimmel said.

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