# Posted: 29 Mar 2010 21:30
More than 3.3 million college students may have been victimized by a computer data theft at a Minnesota company that handles federal student loans.
According to a story over the weekend in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, thieves stole the data earlier this month from ECMC. The company was founded 16 years ago as Educational Credit Management Corp.
The company said the stolen data include names, addresses, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.
Zendough.com, a consumer-oriented identity theft firm operated by TransUnion, offers the following tips on how to reduce the risk of identity theft.
-- Protect your computer by uins a firewall, anti-virus software and other security measures to prevent unauthorized access from outsiders.
-- Avoid providing personal information, such as your Social Security number, in response to an email request from any financial institution, Internet service provider or other organization. Such requests are often fraudulent.
-- Identity thieves get information from many sources, including dumpsters and trash bins. Shred sensitive documents.
--If you suspect your personal information has been compromised, contact the credit reporting bureaus, such as TransUnion, first to place a fraud alert and security freeze on credit reports to prevent further damage. Also contact your bank, credit card issuer, the police, and even utility providers.