The Colorado Department of Higher Education (“CDHE”) is providing notice of a cybersecurity incident that may involve the personal information of certain individuals. CDHE is providing information about the measures we have taken in response to the incident, and steps impacted individuals may take to protect themselves against possible misuse of information.
On June 19, 2023, CDHE became aware it was the victim of a cybersecurity ransomware incident that impacted its network systems. CDHE took steps to secure the network and have been working with third-party specialists to conduct a thorough investigation into this incident. CDHE also worked to restore systems and return to normal operations.
While this incident is still part of an ongoing criminal and internal investigation, we do know that an unauthorized actor(s) accessed CDHE systems between June 11 and June 19, 2023 and that certain data was copied from CDHE systems during this time. Over the past few weeks, our investigation has revealed that some of the impacted records include names and social security numbers or student identification numbers, as well as other education records.
The review of the impacted records is ongoing and once complete, CDHE will be notifying individuals who are potentially impacted by mail or email to the extent we have contact information. While the review is ongoing, those that attended a public institution of higher education in Colorado between 2007-2020, attended a Colorado public high school between 2004-2020, individuals with a Colorado K-12 public school educator license between 2010-2014, participated in the Dependent Tuition Assistance Program from 2009-2013, participated in Colorado Department of Education’s Adult Education Initiatives programs between 2013-2017, or obtained a GED between 2007-2011 may be impacted by this incident.
What We Are Doing.
In response to this incident, CDHE is reviewing our policies and procedures and are working to implement additional cybersecurity security safeguards to further protect our systems. Additionally, CDHE is providing impacted individuals with complimentary access to credit monitoring and identity theft protection services through Experian. Although CDHE is making these services available to impacted individuals, CDHE is unable to enroll individuals directly due to privacy reasons. Please review the information below entitled Steps You Can Take to Help Protect Personal Information.
What You Can Do.
Remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft and fraud. Review your account statements and free credit reports for suspicious activity and errors. If you are impacted, we encourage you to enroll in the monitoring services CDHE is offering.
For More Information.
We understand that members of the public may have additional questions. For assistance with questions regarding this incident, please call our designated hotline at (833) 301-1346 between 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mountain Time, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mountain Time, Saturday and Sunday (excluding U.S. holidays).
Steps You Can Take To Protect Personal Information
Enroll in Monitoring Services
To help protect an individual’s identity, CDHE is offering complimentary access to Experian IdentityWorksSM for 24 months.
Please note that Identity Restoration is available to potentially impacted individuals for 24 months from the date of this notice. The Terms and Conditions for this offer are located at https://www.experianidworks.com/restoration.
While identity restoration assistance is immediately available to individuals, we also encourage to activate the fraud detection tools available through Experian IdentityWorks as a complimentary 24-month membership. This product provides individuals with superior identity detection and resolution of identity theft. To start monitoring personal information, please follow the steps below:
- Ensure that you enroll by November 30, 2023 (Code will not work after this date.)
- Visit the Experian IdentityWorks website to enroll: https://www.experianidworks.com/credit
- Provide your activation code: QS3PVK3NQ3
If you believe there was fraudulent use of your information and would like to discuss how you may be able to resolve those issues, please reach out to an Experian agent. If, after discussing your situation with an agent, it is determined that identity restoration support is needed then an Experian Identity Restoration agent is available to work with you to investigate and resolve each incident of fraud that occurred from the date of the incident (including, as appropriate, helping you with contacting credit grantors to dispute charges and close accounts; assisting you in placing a freeze on your credit file with the three major credit bureaus; and assisting you with contacting government agencies to help restore your identity to its proper condition).
If you have questions about the product, need assistance with Identity Restoration, or would like an alternative to enrolling in Experian IdentityWorks online, please contact Experian’s customer care team at (833) 301-1346 by November 30, 2023. Please be prepared to provide engagement number B100473 as proof of eligibility for the Identity Restoration services by Experian.
ADDITIONAL DETAILS REGARDING 24-MONTH EXPERIAN IDENTITYWORKS MEMBERSHIP
A credit card is not required for enrollment in Experian IdentityWorks. You can contact Experian immediately regarding any fraud issues, and have access to the following features once you enroll in Experian IdentityWorks:
- Experian credit report at signup: See what information is associated with your credit file. Daily credit reports are available for online members only.
- Credit Monitoring: Actively monitors Experian file for indicators of fraud.
- Identity Restoration: Identity Restoration specialists are immediately available to help you address credit and non-credit related fraud.
- Experian IdentityWorks ExtendCARETM: You receive the same high-level of Identity Restoration support even after your Experian IdentityWorks membership has expired.
- $1 Million Identity Theft Insurance: Provides coverage for certain costs and unauthorized electronic fund transfers.
Monitor Your Accounts
Under U.S. law, a consumer is entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. To order a free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228. Consumers may also directly contact the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below to request a free copy of their credit report.
Consumers have the right to place an initial or extended “fraud alert” on a credit file at no cost. An initial fraud alert is a 1-year alert that is placed on a consumer’s credit file. Upon seeing a fraud alert display on a consumer’s credit file, a business is required to take steps to verify the consumer’s identity before extending new credit. If consumers are the victim of identity theft, they are entitled to an extended fraud alert, which is a fraud alert lasting seven years. Should consumers wish to place a fraud alert, please contact any of the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below.
As an alternative to a fraud alert, consumers have the right to place a “credit freeze” on a credit report, which will prohibit a credit bureau from releasing information in the credit report without the consumer’s express authorization. The credit freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in a consumer’s name without consent. However, consumers should be aware that using a credit freeze to take control over who gets access to the personal and financial information in their credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application they make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, or any other account involving the extension of credit. Pursuant to federal law, consumers cannot be charged to place or lift a credit freeze on their credit report. To request a credit freeze, individuals may need to provide some or all of the following information:
- Full name (including middle initial as well as Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.);
- Social Security number;
- Date of birth;
- Addresses for the prior two to five years;
- Proof of current address, such as a current utility bill or telephone bill;
- A legible photocopy of a government-issued identification card (state driver’s license or ID card, etc.); and
- A copy of either the police report, investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft if they are a victim of identity theft.
Should consumers wish to place a credit freeze or fraud alert, please contact the three major credit reporting bureaus listed below:
Equifax Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 105069 Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
Experian Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion Fraud Alert, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
Equifax Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 105788 Atlanta, GA 30348-5788
Experian Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion Credit Freeze, P.O. Box 160, Woodlyn, PA 19094
Consumers may further educate themselves regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, credit freezes, and the steps they can take to protect your personal information by contacting the consumer reporting bureaus, the Federal Trade Commission, or their state Attorney General. The Federal Trade Commission may be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20580; www.identitytheft.gov; 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); and TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The Federal Trade Commission also encourages those who discover that their information has been misused to file a complaint with them. Consumers can obtain further information on how to file such a complaint by way of the contact information listed above. Consumers have the right to file a police report if they ever experience identity theft or fraud. Please note that in order to file a report with law enforcement for identity theft, consumers will likely need to provide some proof that they have been a victim. Instances of known or suspected identity theft should also be reported to law enforcement and the relevant state Attorney General. This notice has not been delayed by law enforcement.