Monday, May 22, 2006

NICE! One More Thing For Vets To Worry About!

Unfreaking real, this must be part of our increased national security.
Personal Data of 26.5 Million Veterans Stolen
By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 22, 2006; 3:30 PM

Every living veteran is at risk of identity theft after thieves stole an electronic data file this month containing the names, birthdates and Social Security numbers from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee, VA Secretary R. James Nicholson said today.

The theft of the data, which the employee was not authorized to take home, represents one of the most sweeping government losses of sensitive personal information, experts said. The file did not contain medical records, Nicholson said.

Nicholson said the employee, a career civil servant whom he would not identify by name or title, has been put on administrative leave pending the outcome of investigations by the FBI, local police and the Veterans Affairs inspector general.

Police "believe this was a random burglary and not targeted at this data," Nicholson said. "There have been a series of burglaries in that community."

Nicholson said officials have no indication yet that anyone was making use of the pilfered data "or even that they know they have it." Although publicly revealing the existence of the theft might tip off the thieves to the value of their haul, Nicholson said VA officials weighed the alternatives and decided that veterans needed to know in order to protect themselves.

The Veterans Affairs Department plans to send letters to all veteran notifying them that their personal information had been compromised, Nicholson said. The department also has established a Web site with a Q&A about the situation and a toll free number (1-800-333-4636) for veterans to call for information or to report anything suspicious.
The Website mentioned in the article goes to First Gov, which is the Federal Governments portal site. Amongst other thing mentioned in the FAQ here are some other contact numbers IF you suspect illegal activity has occured:
The Federal Trade Commission recommends the following four steps if you detect suspicious activity:

Step 1 – Contact the fraud department of one of the three major credit bureaus:
* Equifax: 1-800-525-6285;; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
* Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742);; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, Texas 75013
* TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289;; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Step 2 – Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

Step 3 – File a police report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.

Step 4 – File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by using the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline by telephone: 1-877-438-4338, online at, or by mail at Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC 20580.

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