Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

Update regarding recent spate of spam text messages

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On Nov. 14, PCC management learned that individuals posing as potential PCC students had fraudulently obtained PCC-issued email addresses, and used them to send offensive spam text messages. These individuals were not PCC students, and they were not associated with the college. Similarly, phone numbers that received their spam text messages were not associated with PCC, nor with its students.

PCC’s Information Technology team and Student Affairs leadership responded immediately to the incident. They conducted a thorough review of the college’s internal processes, implemented controls to reduce the impact of this particular incident, terminated all email accounts used to send the offensive texts, and instituted measures to prevent similar types of situations from occurring in the future.

To date, PCC has found no unauthorized access or use of personal information held by PCC, and there hasn’t been a breach of PCC security. To the college’s knowledge, no PCC student data has been accessed or impacted by this transgression. PCC continues to gather information regarding the matter; as new information becomes available, the college will update its community accordingly.

PCC provides email addresses to prospective students during the application process, to allow them to work with student services and faculty, and for related purposes, prior to their enrollment. In response to this incident, PCC has implemented procedures as a safeguard, to prevent non-PCC students from obtaining email addresses and using them to engage in unapproved activities.

Educational institutions are frequent targets of similar kinds of transgressions; PCC is not the only institution to have experienced this kind of malicious activity.

PCC sincerely apologizes to the recipients of the spam text messages, and assures them that the emails used to send the texts are no longer active in PCC’s system.

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PCC offers this limited open forum as an extension of the respectful, well-reasoned discourse we expect in our classroom discussions. As such, we welcome all viewpoints, but monitor comments to be sure they stick to the topic and contribute to the conversation. We will remove them if they contain or link to abusive material, personal attacks, profanity, off-topic items, or spam. This is the same behavior we require in our hallways and classrooms. Our online spaces are no different.