College sends social security numbers in mail - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

College sends social security numbers in mail

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October 28, 2003

Sumter County - Nine numbers contain who you are, your credit history and all sorts of private information. So, what happens if your social security number gets into the wrong hands?

A south Georgia mother is worried for her two daughters. Their social security numbers were accidentally sent to strangers by the college they attend.

The Sumter County mother is furious with South Georgia Technical College employees, but she does not want to be identified. She says, "We were just totally shocked."

Her two daughters received a letter by mail stating they lost the HOPE grant. The second page is what sparked anger.

A probation list with other students names and their social security numbers. Meaning her daughters private information was also sent to strangers. She adds, "I feel they could have offered an apology or something at least."

School officials say 30 letters were sent out, calling this a clerical error. It's not their policy to send out social security numbers. The letter should have been the only piece of paper sent in the mail. There were 100 different names and social security numbers on the pages sent to the family we spoke to. The mother adds, "It was an error, I understand, but it was a big error to my kids and probably to the other kids."

Assistant President Don Smith says he'll be happy to talk with students and parents to resolve the problem, but this mother says the damage is already done. The concerned mother says, "I pray it doesn't get in the wrong hands. A lot of information just floating out in different places."

The school says this has never happened before and never will happen again.

Smith called the mother we talked to and apologized for the error. He says concerned students or parents can call the Financial Aid Department or Student Services Department.

posted at 6:30PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com