Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Veterans' Info Stolen; 26.5 million vets' personal data

Federal Government Veterans Administration Security Alert

Apparently a computer disk with information on U.S. veterans stolen from home of Veterans Affairs analyst. 26.5 million vets' social security numbers, dates of birth, and other identity theft capable information has been stolen. Now, our federal government officals are scratching their heads on what to do. Quite frankly, every veteran should be disturbed about this gross compromise of ripe identity theft information.

Veterans Affairs appears to be happy that individual medical record information has been protected. However, Veterans Affairs is not being proactive to take additional steps regarding this potentially credit ruining information floating around unsecure.

Personally, I do not give a damn about my health record information being compromised. My financial health is more important. Veterans and their families financial health is at stake.

The Veterans Administration should immediately volunteer to pay for credit protection services offered by the big three consumer credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Exisiting laws indicate that you, the consumer, have the right to ask that nationwide consumer reporting agencies place “fraud alerts” in your file to let potential creditors and others know that you may be a victim of identity theft. A fraud alert can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you. It also may delay your ability to obtain credit, a small price to pay for the damage it will cause if the information falls into the wrong hands. Individually, one may place a fraud alert in ones file by calling just one of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies. As soon as that agency processes ones fraud alert, it will notify the other two, which then also must place fraud alerts in ones file.

An initial fraud alert will stay in your file for at least 90 days. The Veterans Administration should volunteer to pay for indefinite fraud alert stays and push through emergency legilation to support a national program because of their SNAFU. Be advised if you do it yourself, there is the usual redtape written into the current regulations.

Currently, an extended alert stays in your file for seven years. To place either the 90 day or seven year alert, a consumer reporting agency will require you to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include your Social Security number. If you ask for an extended alert, you will have to provide an identity theft report.

The identity theft report includes a copy of a report you have filed with a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency, and additional information a consumer reporting agency may require you to submit.

For more detailed information about the identity theft report, visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft

The Federal government should pay for credit protection service because thier employees were responsible for the SNAFU.

Veterans Affairs, do not white wash this problem or hid behind some sleigh of hands or political hand ringing. This blogger demands on behalf of 26.5 million veterans that Veterans Affairs steps up to plate immediately and pay for additional credit protection for the the affected veterans.

Here is the article: Veterans' Info Stolen 26.5 million vets' personal data

Here is the raw data from the VA: Notification Letter (pdf)

FirstGov Veterans Affairs Information: Latest Information on the Veterans Affairs Data Security SNAFU

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