More than 3 million federal student loan records were stolen in a massive data breach.
According to the Educational Credit Management Corp. (ECMC), a guarantor of federal student loans, "portable media" containing the names, addresses, Social Security numbers and dates of birth of 3.3 million people was stolen from the company roughly a week ago.
The theft "occurred sometime during the weekend of March 20-21," the company said, and was discovered the afternoon of March 21. No bank account or other financial information was included in the data, and the theft was immediately reported to law enforcement after it was discovered, the company said.
The company did not state whether the information was encrypted. However, ECMC announced it will send out breach notification letters to anyone affected by the situation as soon as possible, and is partnering with the credit protection agency Experian to offer free credit monitoring and notification.
"We deeply regret that this incident occurred and the stress it has caused our borrowers and our partners and are doing everything we can to help protect our borrowers' identity and personal information," said Richard Boyle, president and CEO of ECMC, in the statement.
ECMC is the designated guaranty agency in Virginia, Oregon and Connecticut.