Eastern Michigan University Student Charged with Identity Theft

Identity theft on the college campus is back in the news and the two former students, also employees, from Eastern Michigan University have been accused of stealing 64 personal records.  Police say one of the accused, Keonte Manning has turned himself in and been charged.

Back in March of 2011, EMU officials issued a statement to students saying, “Only students, not faculty or staff, are affected. EMU has already sent individual notifications to the students who we believe may be directly affected by this incident.”

What are the charges against the former Eastern Michigan University student-employee?

-2 counts of using a computer to commit a crime

-2 counts of identity theft

-2 counts of obtaining personal information to commit identity theft

-2 counts of conspiracy to commit identity theft

“It’s quite the lengthy case in detail and the amount of follow up,” EMU police Chief Bob Heighes said. “Even though it happened six months ago, the investigation just recently finished.”

Police are continuing to look for the second suspect.  Manning is expected to have a preliminary hearing on November 1, 2011.

What was stolen from college students?

The two accused accessed and stole names, birthdates and social security numbers of 64 people.  Apparently the accused used the social security numbers to file fraudulent tax returns and six university students reported to the university that their Internal Revenue Service tax returns for 2010 were rejected because there were duplicate filings with their social security numbers.

Eastern Michigan University rep Geogg Larcom said the university utilized an internal auditor to learn how to prevent future lapses in data security.

What security measures were recommended?

-A clean-desk policy calls for proper storage of hard copies

-Student-employees are banned from access to critical storage areas without supervision

-Office spaces have been reconfigured to allow more supervision with a student work area in view of full-time financial aid advisors

-Spot-checking will take place to ensure student workers are only working on appropriate activities

EMU also offered this information to students who are concerned about the security breach:

“Although we do not have reason to believe that your personal information has been accessed, out of an abundance of caution we want to suggest steps that you may take to reduce the likelihood of identity theft. Checking your credit report periodically is one way to help you spot problems and address them quickly. The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you access to your credit report for free once per year.  Go to annualcreditreport.com to obtain your free credit report along with other useful information.”

Of course EMU isn’t the first university struck by identity theft crimes.  The University of Hawaii was a victim last year.   Read here for more on protecting college students in The Card Act:  College Student Consumer Protection or a Card Trick?




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