Friendswood ISD students' Social Security numbers mistakenly sent to school photographer

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Monday, February 1, 2021
Protect your identity during the holidays
The moment you find out your credit card or social security number has been compromised, you have to act fast to stop the damage.

FRIENDSWOOD, Texas (KTRK) -- Typically, when a child's school photo is taken, all the picture-taker needs is the student's name and nice, big smile.

But, as it was revealed Monday to parents in Friendswood ISD, students' Social Security numbers were sent to a photographer responsible for taking their pictures every school year.

In a letter obtained by ABC13, the school district said last September, it intended to send student information, including each child's student ID number, to its photographer.

"Unfortunately, we sent student social security numbers in place of student ID numbers to the photographer," the letter stated.

The school district added it contacted the photographer as soon as the error was discovered, and the contractor readily agreed to delete this information.

"We have used this photographer for several years and have no reason to believe your child's social security number has been compromised or used in an unauthorized manner," the school district assured in the letter.

The data breach impacted fewer than 550 students at Bales Intermediate School, according to a district spokesperson. Students at other campuses in the district were not involved.

In response, the school district in the letter offered families complimentary identity protection services through Experian.

Eyewitness News reached out to Friendswood ISD, which confirmed the letter.

"We regret that this happened and do not have reason to believe the numbers were compromised in any way," the district told ABC13.

Identity theft involving children is something that's certainly not out of the realm of possibility for families.

SEE MORE: Protecting your child from identity theft

Experts urge parents to do the following in order to protect their kids:

  • Check your child's credit reports
  • Keep their information secure
  • Shred what you do not need

Experts say when your child hits 16, you should get those credit reports from all three reporting agencies. If you see something that does not belong, call the agencies and report it to the police.

The video above is from a previous report highlighting child identity theft.