January, 2021 – Puget Sound Educational Services District (“PSESD”) is providing notice of a data privacy incident that may impact the privacy of personal information for certain current and former students and employees of King and Pierce County schools.

PSESD first learned of unusual activity on our computer network on or about July 25, 2020. Since discovering the activity, PSESD took portions of our network offline and commenced an investigation into the event that included working with third-party computer forensic specialists to determine the nature and scope of the event. During the course of the investigation, PSESD learned that certain employee email accounts were accessed by unauthorized individual(s) on separate occasions between April 5, 2020 and August 6, 2020. The investigation found no evidence of specific access to the contents of emails within the impacted email accounts, but could not rule it out. Accordingly, as a precaution, PSESD conducted an extensive review of all messages and documents to determine what information was potentially accessible and to whom the information related. PSESD confirmed on December 23, 2020 that the types of personal information relating to employees and/or students potentially impacted included their name, date of birth, Social Security number, financial account information, and high-level medical information.

PSESD takes this incident and the security of personal information entrusted in our care very seriously. Upon discovery of the unusual activity, PSESD immediately took portions of our network offline and commenced an investigation that included working with computer forensic specialists to understand the nature and scope of the event. While PSESD has received no reports that any accessible information was subject to actual or attempted misuse, we are providing potentially impacted individuals notice of the event and resources you may take advantage of, should you feel it appropriate to do so. PSESD also continues to evaluate ways to improve our existing protections to secure the information within our network.

Starting Friday, January 22, 2021, individuals seeking additional information regarding the event may call our dedicated assistance line at 1- 800-223-0837, that will be available Monday through Friday, from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Pacific Time.

Best Practices

PSESD encourages you to remain vigilant against incidents of identity theft and fraud, to review your account statements, medical bills, explanation of benefits (EOBs), and credit reports for suspicious charges or claims. If you see any unauthorized or suspicious activity, promptly contact your financial institution, credit card company, insurance company, or the credit reporting bureaus.

Under U.S. law you are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus. To order your free credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com or call, toll-free, 1-877-322-8228.  You may also contact the three major credit bureaus directly to request a free copy of your credit report.

You have the right to place a “security freeze” on your credit report, which will prohibit a consumer reporting agency from releasing information in your credit report without your express authorization.  The security freeze is designed to prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who gets access to the personal and financial information in your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding a new loan, credit, mortgage, or any other account involving the extension of credit.  Pursuant to federal law, you cannot be charged to place or lift a security freeze on your credit report.  Should you wish to place a security freeze, please contact the major consumer reporting agencies listed below:

P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

P.O. Box 160
Woodlyn, PA 19094

P.O. Box 105788
Atlanta, GA 30348-5788

In order to request a security freeze, you will need to provide the following information:

  1. Your full name (including middle initial as well as Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.);
  2. Social Security number;
  3. Date of birth;
  4. If you have moved in the past five (5) years, the addresses where you have lived over the prior five years;
  5. Proof of current address, such as a current utility bill or telephone bill;
  6. A legible photocopy of a government-issued identification card (state driver’s license or ID card, military identification, etc.); 
  7. If you are a victim of identity theft, a copy of either the police report, investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft.

As an alternative to a security freeze, you have the right to place an initial or extended “fraud alert” on your 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 you are a victim of identity theft, you are entitled to an extended fraud alert, which is a fraud alert lasting seven years. Should you wish to place a fraud alert, please contact any one of the agencies listed below:

P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348

Additional Information

You can further educate yourself regarding identity theft, fraud alerts, security freezes, and the steps you can take to protect yourself by contacting the consumer reporting agencies, the Federal Trade Commission, or your state Attorney General. The Federal Trade Commission can be reached at: 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 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.  You can obtain further information on how to file such a complaint by way of the contact information listed above.  You have the right to file a police report if you ever experience identity theft or fraud.  Please note that in order to file a report with law enforcement for identity theft, you will likely need to provide some proof that you have been a victim.  Instances of known or suspected identity theft should also be reported to law enforcement and your state Attorney General.  This notice has not been delayed by law enforcement.