Tuesday, May 23, 2006

26 Million Veterans Subject to Massive Identity Theft

26-Million-Veterans-Subject-to-Massive-Identity-Theft an audio post - click to play

A single, careless employee's very serious
mistake combined with a break-in of his home
has resulted in what officials are calling
the largest exposure of social security
(ssn) ever!

Veterans discharged since 1975 and
their spouses
as well as those who
submitted VA benefits claims

Cardservices International's exposure last year
of 40 million account holder's information was
actually larger - but that identity theft by
hackers did not include the social security
numbers of consumers.

In contrast, to Cardservices International's
identity theft, this one by an employee of
the Department of Veteran's Affairs hits
American consumers much harder
because of
the exposure of their
social security numbers (ssn).

26.5 million of them to be exact and according
to the Department of Veteran's Affairs, this
massive data security breach that took place
May 3rd, also included other highly confidential
personal information prized by identity thieves:

  • Names of Veterans and some Spouses
  • Addresses
  • Phone Numbers
  • Birth Dates
  • Disability Ratings

Social security numbers along with a person's name
and birth date are 3/4th of the most sought after
information by identity thieves and is needed to
open up new credit accounts to rapidly commit
against innocent victims.

While the FBI is investigating this data security
breach, there's no evidence publicy available to
indicate actual cases of credit fraud have yet been
documented against any of the 26 million consumers.

However, VA officials have urged veterans to monitor
their credit scores and credit-card and bank statements.
Evidently those VA officials, with their lax data
security policies, have not extended "free" credit
monitoring to all of those veteran's and their spouses.

The VA inspector general has criticized the department
for lax information-security practices, chiefly
concerning the ease with which computer hackers
might penetrate VA systems.

Once again, we learn of the identity thief's dream
combination: sloppy security allowing employee's taking
highly sensitive personal information away from the
office whereby an "random" burgulary exposes countless
victims to years of financial burden.

So, our tip for today is to especially be on guard for
any suspicious activity invoving your existing credit
card or banking accounts. For those veteran's affected
by this social security number theft, we urge you to
immediately enroll in automatic credit monitoring as
well as be prepared to check your medical information
profile over the next 3 months for any signs of false
claims filed in your name.

Finally, to contact Congress to urge them to finally
take decisive action againt companies and other
large entities who mishandle Veteran's most sensitive
personal information without penalty, use this
convenient form to make your voice heard.


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