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Notice of Data Breach 

The privacy and security of the personal information we maintain is of the utmost importance to Bluefield University (“Bluefield”). We are writing with important information regarding a recent data security incident that involved personal information. We want to provide information about the incident and let you know that we continue to take significant measures to protect information in our possession.

On May 1, 2023, Bluefield detected unauthorized access to our network. Upon learning of this issue, we contained the threat and immediately commenced a prompt and thorough investigation with external cybersecurity professionals experienced in handling these types of incidents. After an extensive forensic investigation and manual document review, we discovered on October 26, 2023 that between April 29, 2023 and May 11, 2023, certain files containing personal information may have been accessed and potentially acquired by an unauthorized individual(s).

The potentially impacted information contained full names, dates of birth, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, Social Security numbers, driver’s license and/or government identification card numbers, passport number, credit and/or debit card numbers, bank and/or financial account information, medical information (i.e., treatment information, prescription information, provider name, or anything similar the medical file and/or record), health insurance information, and education information. Impacted elements of information varied per individual. Impacted elements of information varied per individual. However, as of now, Bluefield has no evidence indicating that any information has been used for identity theft or financial fraud.

Bluefield is offering complimentary credit monitoring and identity theft protection services to individuals impacted or involved in the incident. If interested in signing up for the complimentary credit monitoring, individuals must do so within 90 days of receiving their notification letter from Bluefield. If you believe you were impacted by this incident and wish to take advantage of these services, please contact the dedicated toll-free helpline (as stated below).

Bluefield takes the responsibility to protect the security and privacy of the information in its care with the utmost seriousness. In response to this incident, Bluefield is implementing additional safeguards to its existing information security infrastructure and enhancing its employee information security training. Further, Bluefield is working with its external experts to improve its policies, procedures, and protocols to help minimize the likelihood of this type of incident occurring.

For individuals seeking more information or who have questions, Bluefield established a dedicated toll-free helpline set up specifically for this purpose at 1-833-810-4029 from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm Eastern time, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Representatives are available for 90 days.

1: Placing a Fraud Alert on Your Credit File.

Whether or not you choose to use the complimentary 12-month credit monitoring services, we recommend that you place an initial one-year “fraud alert” on your credit files, at no charge. A fraud alert tells creditors to contact you personally before they open any new accounts. To place a fraud alert, call any one of the three major credit bureaus at the numbers listed below. As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, they will notify the others.

 

2: Placing a Security Freeze on Your Credit File.

If you are very concerned about becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft, you may request a “security freeze” be placed on your credit file, at no charge. A security freeze prohibits, with certain specific exceptions, the consumer reporting agencies from releasing your credit report or any information from it without your express authorization. You may place a security freeze on your credit report by contacting all three nationwide credit reporting companies at the numbers below and following the stated directions or by sending a request in writing, by mail, to all three credit reporting companies:

In order to place the security freeze, you’ll need to supply your name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and other personal information. After receiving your freeze request, each credit reporting company will send you a confirmation letter containing a unique PIN (personal identification number) or password. Keep the PIN or password in a safe place. You will need it if you choose to lift the freeze.

If you do place a security freeze prior to enrolling in the credit monitoring service as described above, you will need to remove the freeze in order to sign up for the credit monitoring service. After you sign up for the credit monitoring service, you may refreeze your credit file.

3: Obtaining a Free Credit Report.

Under federal law, you are entitled to one free credit report every 12 months from each of the above three major nationwide credit reporting companies. Call 1-877-322-8228 or request your free credit reports online at www.annualcreditreport.com. Once you receive your credit reports, review them for discrepancies. Identify any accounts you did not open or inquiries from creditors that you did not

authorize. Verify all information is correct. If you have questions or notice incorrect information, contact the credit reporting company.

4: Additional Helpful Resources.

Even if you do not find any suspicious activity on your initial credit reports, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you check your credit reports periodically. Checking your credit report periodically can help you spot problems and address them quickly.

If you find suspicious activity on your credit reports or have reason to believe your information is being misused, call your local law enforcement agency and file a police report. Be sure to obtain a copy of the police report, as many creditors will want the information it contains to absolve you of the fraudulent debts. You may also file a complaint with the FTC by contacting them on the web at www.ftc.gov/idtheft, by phone at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338), or by mail at Federal Trade Commission, Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. Your complaint will be added to the FTC’s Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse, where it will be accessible to law enforcement for their investigations. In addition, you may obtain information from the FTC about fraud alerts and security freezes.

If this notice letter states that your financial account information and/or credit or debit card information was impacted, we recommend that you contact your financial institution to inquire about steps to take to protect your account, including whether you should close your account or obtain a new account number.

If your personal information has been used to file a false tax return, to open an account, or to attempt to open an account in your name, or to commit fraud or other crimes against you, you may file a police report in the city in which you currently reside.

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