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$1.4 million stolen in CHET security breach; 21 accounts affected

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HARTFORD — Officials said Wednesday that over $1.4 million was stolen from CHET accounts due to a security breach. Only $442,000 was recovered.

“The Treasury has been advised by the CHET Direct program manager, TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. (“TFI”), that 21 CHET account holders had online access to their accounts established by unauthorized individuals that resulted in a total of 44 unauthorized withdrawals of funds totaling approximately $1,416,635. Of this amount, $442,540 was recovered or stopped. This breach has not impacted customers with CHET Advisor accounts managed by The Hartford.” officials said in a statement.

CHET is program that provides savings for college students.

Federal, state and local authorities are investigating the theft. All account holders will have the funds restored to their accounts and be provided with of identity fraud services.

CHET accounts are maintained by TIAA-CREF Tuition Financing, Inc. TFI said in a statement, “TFI has implemented system enhancements, additional internal controls, and extra manual reviews aimed at helping to protect against future fraudulent activity. The Treasury is closely monitoring these security initiatives. In addition, we have requested an independent audit of fraudulent account activity and an independent review of TFI’s cyber, telephone and manual security programs.”

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