A woman has filed a lawsuit against Gaston College alleging that the college waited six months to notify her after learning that her Social Security number and other personal information were accessed and posted online by a hacker.
The class action lawsuit was filed Sept. 8 by Chasity Vernon of Lincolnton.
It alleges that on Feb. 22, Gaston College became aware of suspicious activity within its computer systems and found that a hacker accessed sensitive files between Feb. 21 and Feb. 22, 2023. On Aug. 26, 2023, approximately six months after the college first learned of the breach, Gaston College began to notify students that their personal information had been accessed.
Identity thieves can use stolen personal information for a wide variety of crimes, including credit card fraud, bank fraud, tax fraud, and other forms of identity theft, according to the lawsuit.
The stolen information was posted on both the regular internet and the Dark Web, a section of the internet often used for criminal activity.
Vernon herself received a letter Aug. 26 from Gaston College telling her that her name, Social Security number, driver’s license number, date of birth, and student identification number had been compromised. The notice offered Vernon a year of credit monitoring.
“One year of credit monitoring is not sufficient given that (Vernon) will now experience a lifetime of increased risk of identity theft and other forms of targeted fraudulent misuse of her private information,” the lawsuit stated.
Vernon anticipates spending a considerable amount of time and money to try to protect herself, the lawsuit stated.
The lawsuit asks for an unspecified amount of damages and an order telling Gaston College to purchase or provide funds for lifetime credit monitoring and identity theft insurance for Vernon and others who were affected.
Gaston College did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
Vernon could not be reached for comment.