HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Hope College now faces two multimillion-dollar class-action lawsuits for a data breach earlier this year that impacted thousands, The Holland Sentinel reports.
Hope College in Holland first discovered the data breach on Sept. 27. Information like first and last names, birthdates, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers and student ID numbers were compromised. The school says it completed a review identifying what personal data was involved in the breach on Nov. 8 and has sent a letter to those it believes could be impacted.
The two lawsuits, one filed on Monday and one filed on Tuesday, say around 156,700 people were impacted, the Holland Sentinel reports. It reports both lawsuits accuse Hope College of negligence, among other counts, and both are seeking around $5 million.
According to The Holland Sentinel, the lead plaintiff in the first lawsuit said she was not made aware of the breach until Dec. 15.
In a statement to The Holland Sentinel, the school said it “took great care to conduct a complete and thorough investigation.”
“Unfortunately, data security incidents have become far more prevalent in recent times, and more and more education institutions have been targeted by cyber criminals,” the school said in the statement.
The school previously said it does not believe the data was “misused by any third-party.”
Students whose information may have been part of the data breach should take steps to protect themselves, the Michigan attorney general says.
“Anyone who received notice from Hope College related to this breach should be taking steps to combat potential identify theft,” Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said in a Wednesday release. “While bad actors may have access to your information as a result of this breach, there are ways to protect yourself if your information was compromised.”
She recommended students monitor their credit, place a credit freeze on their credit report and place a fraud alert on their credit reports. Hope College is offering a credit monitoring service for a year to students that have been impacted.
More information on steps Nessel says students should take can be found at michigan.gov.
For more information about the data breach, or if you did not receive a notice but believe your data may have been included, go to hope.edu/cybersecurityupdate or call 1.833.540.0798.