Thirty six thousand Bright Directions account holders received a quarterly newsletter with their social security number printed on the outside of the flyer.
The director of college savings at the state treasurer's office says the error was made by Union Bank, which handles record-keeping and mailing for bright directions. Union Bank claims the error is "low risk."
"It was all sorted by electronic mail sort so the only other person who handled that was the mail carrier, and that's why it's been assessed as a very low risk to identity theft," said Bridget Byron, Ill. Treasurer's Office.
Nevertheless, Union Bank will pay for identity theft protection for all the account holders who received the mailing.