Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Veterans Affairs Personal Data MIA as Id Theft Suspected Again

Veterans-Affairs-Personal-Data-MIA-as-Id-Theft-Suspected-Again audio post - click to play

Coming on the heels of the arrest of a pair of teenagers
responsible for the stolen VA laptop in May containing
26.5 million Veteran's social security numbers (ssn),
another incident has occurred prompting cries to fire
the Veterans Affairs administrator Jim Nicholson.


Less than a month after promising to make the VA the
"gold standard" in data security, a desktop computer
in the Reston, Virginia office of an out-sourced medical
billing contractor (Unisys) was "taken from a secured
office space."

That secured part of the Unisys office required
a
company id badge for access.

Similar to the previous security breach, the personal
data suspected to be contained on the "missing"
computer included:


  • Full Names
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Numbers (ssn)
  • Other Insurance Companies
  • Medical information


This latest VA security breach has negatively & needlessy
impacted as many as 38,000 veterans who received
care
at VA medical centers in Philadelphia and
Pittsburgh.


Adding more fuel to it's critics in recent weeks the VA has
also acknowledged losing sensitive data for more
than 16,000
veterans in at least two other cases
in Minneapolis and
Indianapolis.

So, our tip for today is if you are a veteran who's utilized
the VA's services in these four cities, contact any three of
the credit bureaus to seek getting a credit freeze or
fraud
alert placed on your credit report. Additionally,
contact the Veterans Affairs special toll-free hotline for additional
information on how this latest identity theft may impact access
to your benefits.


To reach that Veteran Affairs hot line call 1-800-333-4636.

Also, make sure to tell a friend about this important new warning.

4 Comments:

At 10:59 AM, Blogger Nathan said...

Sorry, I'm going to open up a can on this one....

I am sick of using the "when will they ever learn..." phrases to describe what's been going on with the VA lately, but this is absolutely inexcusable. There is no reason why the data on that desktop was not encrypted, I mean, did they learn a darn thing after nearly costing millions of vets their credit? I just can't believe that Nicholson would allow this to happen yet again.

I can't imagine how vets must be feeling seeing as their VA office constantly has let them down over the past few months. For goodness sake guys, how do you think the rest of the world looks at our veterans and military system these days. If this instance doesn't teach you a lession to encrypt and not be dumb with data then I do not know what will...

 
At 7:09 AM, Blogger agent99 said...

Yes, you are right - couldn't agree with you more!

We can spend billions oversees to fight a war, but can not manage to allocate a tiny fraction of those funds to protect our veteran's at home.

Or, for that matter the now 90 million American who have had their personal data exposed the past year and half.

 
At 1:28 PM, Blogger Nathan said...

Great statement about spending money overseas...

Sometimes I am skeptical about what privacyrights is doing because now people can just stare in awe as the number of people continues to climb towards 100mil.

To make matters even worse, it seems like the government will do whatever they can to pawn the blame of this in any other direction other than their own. These two convicted teens very well could be the accusors of the crime, however the government has made them scapegoats to their situation and will probably charge them for more than simple burglary.

Laptop theft happens all the time in this country, there is no reason why these boys should get it worse because they stole a computer that was valuable because of some mistake at the VA office.

 
At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This issue is nothing compared to the reoval and destruction of Material evidinece filed in VA reagional office c: folders.Thsi tampering goes on by anyone working for the. there is no rotection of this necesary evidence. A claimant does not know and what has been removed or considered. Tampering has alwasy been a felony but it goes
unchalleged. Report it everyone.

 

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