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Va Announces Theft Of Data On 26 Million Veterans


Guest DON20906

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Guest DON20906

VA Secretary Nicholson just concluded a conference call with major veterans' and military service organizations to tell them that a VA data analyst took home the names, social security numbers and dates of birth on over 26 million veterans and others to work from home. The data analyst's home was burglarized and the computer and/or storage media containing the data was stolen. Local police, the FBI and VA's Inspector General believe the burglars were after computer harddware and do not know what they have. VA is going public with this in a press release later today.

Edited by DON20906
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  • HadIt.com Elder

How about a class action lawsuit? How many laws were violated by the employee taking home that information? He will probably get promoted. Do all vets have to show harm done to sue. Maybe the NSA did the theft.

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Well that really sucks.

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Guest DON20906

NSA? Sue? You can't be serious. The analyst is on administrative leave. I'd hate to be him/her right about now.

How about a class action lawsuit? How many laws were violated by the employee taking home that information? He will probably get promoted. Do all vets have to show harm done to sue. Maybe the NSA did the theft.
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  • HadIt.com Elder

http://www.va.gov/

VA warns about the theft.

NSA? Sue? You can't be serious. The analyst is on administrative leave. I'd hate to be him/her right about now.
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  • HadIt.com Elder

Don

If your identity is stolen and it costs you thousands of dollars to set it right due to a VA employee who should pay for that? I was kidding about the NSA. What is the value of 26 million sets of vital statistics and SSA numbers? Our privacy rights have been breached in a gross manner that could end up costing us vets millions of dollars. Someone could be selling your identity right now due to this VA screw up.

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Guest DON20906

I agree, but no one's been harmed yet. If there is some mass identity theft, I'm sure the feds would have to do something to compensate those harmed. Can a class action can be filed under FTCA? I doubt it because FTCA is an administrative remedy. Was the analyst performing his official duties by taking the work home? That's one criteria for an FTCA claim. Be interesting to find out.

Nicholson said "hopefully nothing will come of this," but VA is being proactive by going public right away. They will be sending out letters to everyone to they can who could possibly be effected, retraining employees, will be data-mining beneficiaries' EFT info looking for change patterns, hooking up with credit bureaus, the FTC. There will be an info link on www.firstgov.gov and an 800 number to call for info.

This is a HUGE embarrassment for VA coming a week before Memorial Day; it's all over the news here in DC, already. Here's the press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 22, 2006

A Statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently learned that an employee, a data analyst, took home electronic data from VA, which he was not authorized to do. This behavior was in violation of our policies. This data contained identifying information including names, social security numbers, and dates of birth for up to 26.5 million veterans and some spouses, as well as some disability ratings. Importantly, the affected data did not include any of VA’s electronic health records nor any financial information. The employee’s home was burglarized and this data was stolen. The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Appropriate law enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the VA Inspector General’s office, have launched full-scale investigations into this matter. Authorities believe it is unlikely the perpetrators targeted the items because of any knowledge of the data contents. It is possible that they remain unaware of the information which they possess or of how to make use of it. However, out of an abundance of caution, VA is taking all possible steps to protect and inform our veterans.

VA is working with members of Congress, the news media, veterans service organizations, and other government agencies to help ensure that those veterans and their families are aware of the situation and of the steps they may take to protect themselves from misuse of their personal information. VA will send out individual notification letters to veterans to every extent possible. Veterans can also go to www.firstgov.gov to get more information on this matter. This website is being set to

-More-

Statement from the Department of Veterans Affairs // 2

handle increased web traffic. Additionally, working with other government agencies, VA has set up a manned call center that veterans may call to get information about this situation and learn more about consumer identity protections. That toll free number is 1-800-FED INFO (333-4636). The call center will be open beginning today, and will operate from 8 am to 9 pm (EDT), Monday-Saturday as long as it is needed. The call center will be able to handle up to 20,000 calls per hour (260,000 calls per day).

Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson has briefed the Attorney General and the Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, co-chairs of the President’s Identity Theft Task Force. Task Force members have already taken actions to protect the affected veterans, including working with the credit bureaus to help ensure that veterans receive the free credit report they are entitled to under the law. Additionally, the Task Force will meet today to coordinate the comprehensive Federal response, recommend further ways to protect affected veterans, and increase safeguards to prevent the reoccurrence of such incidents. VA’s mission to serve and honor our nation’s veterans is one we take very seriously and the 235,000 VA employees are deeply saddened by any concern or anxiety this incident may cause our veterans and their families. We appreciate the service our veterans have given their country and we are working diligently to protect them from any harm as a result of this incident.

# # #

Don

If your identity is stolen and it costs you thousands of dollars to set it right due to a VA employee who should pay for that? I was kidding about the NSA. What is the value of 26 million sets of vital statistics and SSA numbers? Our privacy rights have been breached in a gross manner that could end up costing us vets millions of dollars. Someone could be selling your identity right now due to this VA screw up.

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Hi all:

What a coincidence!!

This VA employee's home just happens to get burlarized during a time when he/she had the disc at home!

This smells like an inside job!

If not, it stinks just as badly!

Keep a close eye on your credit reports.

Also, you can get one free credit report per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies by going to annualcreditreport.com.

Also, I might recommend a visit to your U.S. Senator or Representative to voice your displeasure about your personal infomation being removed from a secure VA facility to a VA employee's home!!

I won my claim three years ago, yet the Department of Veterans Affairs STILL continues to pi** me off!!

I am always close to all of you even if I don't spend much time on this board.

Mike

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Guest DON20906

Here's more:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 22, 2006

Frequently Asked Questions on VA’s Letter to Veterans

1- I’m a veteran, how can I tell if my information was compromised?

At this point there is no evidence that any missing data has been used illegally. However, the

Department of Veterans Affairs is asking all veterans to be extra vigilant and to carefully

monitor bank statements, credit card statements and any statements relating to recent financial

transactions. If you notice unusual or suspicious activity, you should report it immediately to the

financial institution involved and contact the Federal Trade Commission for further guidance.

2- What is the earliest date at which suspicious activity might have occurred due to this data

breach?

The information was stolen from an employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs during the

month of May, 2006. If the data has been misused or otherwise used to commit fraud or identity

theft crimes, it is likely that veterans may notice suspicious activity during the month of May.

3- I haven’t noticed any suspicious activity in my financial statements, but what can I do to

protect myself and prevent being victimized by credit card fraud or identity theft?

The Department of Veterans Affairs strongly recommends that veterans closely monitor their

financial statements and visit the Department of Veterans Affairs special website on this,

www.firstgov.gov or call 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636).

4- Should I reach out to my financial institutions or will the Department of Veterans Affairs

do this for me?

The Department of Veterans Affairs does not believe that it is necessary to contact financial

institutions or cancel credit cards and bank accounts, unless you detect suspicious activity.

5- Where should I report suspicious or unusual activity?

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; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, Texas 75013

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

-More-

Frequently Asked Questions // 2

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 www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or by mail at

Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW,

Washington DC 20580.

6- I know the Department of Veterans Affairs maintains my health records electronically;

was this information also compromised?

No electronic medical records were compromised. The data lost is primarily limited to an

individual’s name, date of birth, social security number, in some cases their spouse’s

information, as well as some disability ratings. However, this information could still be of

potential use to identity thieves and we recommend that all veterans be extra vigilant in

monitoring for signs of potential identity theft or misuse of this information.

7- What is the Department of Veterans Affairs doing to insure that this does not happen

again?

The Department of Veterans Affairs is working with the President’s Identity Theft Task Force,

the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to investigate this data breach and

to develop safeguards against similar incidents. The Department of Veterans Affairs has directed all VA employees complete the “VA Cyber Security Awareness Training Course” and complete the separate “General Employee Privacy Awareness Course” by June 30, 2006. In addition, the Department of Veterans Affairs will immediately be conducting an inventory and review of all current positions requiring access to sensitive VA data and require all employees requiring access to sensitive VA data to undergo an updated National Agency Check and Inquiries (NACI) and/or a Minimum Background Investigation (MBI) depending on the level of access required by the responsibilities associated with their position. Appropriate law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Inspector General of the Department of Veterans Affairs, have launched full-scale investigations into this matter.

8- Where can I get further, up-to-date information?

The Department of Veterans Affairs has set up a special website and a toll-free telephone

number for veterans which features up-to-date news and information. Please visit

www.firstgov.gov or call 1-800-FED-INFO (333-4636).

Don

If your identity is stolen and it costs you thousands of dollars to set it right due to a VA employee who should pay for that? I was kidding about the NSA. What is the value of 26 million sets of vital statistics and SSA numbers? Our privacy rights have been breached in a gross manner that could end up costing us vets millions of dollars. Someone could be selling your identity right now due to this VA screw up.

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Guest DON20906

Not worth a reply.

Stupid VA. How could they some one person take home this "disk'? The employee probably never had a security clearance in his life . . . ~Wings
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Just shot off letters to our two U.S. Senators and the U.S. Congressman from this district. We are not happy about this. We don't believe in this kind of coincidence.

Paid or unpaid administrative leave? Are we taxpayers continuing to reward this federal employee for either corrupt or inept behavior?

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This is starting to hit the internet- and Bloomberg (havent seen it yet) just mentioned this on TV-

VFW already made a fuss-

I think it is an unusual coincidence that a federal employee does something he knows he should not do- take home VA data- and then it gets stolen?

I smell a rat and I wonder why he took in home in the first place-

Well- the good thing might be so much for the SSA- VA record comparisons or whatever that committee is doing-

The bad part -this is almost unbelievable- someone out there has lots of personal info on lots of vets-

Maybe that committee and congress itself should start some real oversight now on these VAROs-

or wherever this data came from-

anyone heard anything on what VARO or was it the VA Central office data base?

If a VA employee can take home sensitive federal documents about you-

even if the theft had not occurred- that fed VA employee has enough to compromise the personal info of many.

This doesnt make sense- anyone agree? sounds like two thieves to me, in cahoots.

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Gov't idiots...I called the FirstGov 800 # to find out if they could tell if my data was stolen and she started to read the VA press release. I stoped her and said I had already read it and then she gave me a number to call and I told her that was the number I called to get her on the phone. She said, oh, I didn't know the inbound phone #!!!!!

Idiots....

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Guest DON20906

Certainly, the guy xxxxxx up. He shouldn't have taken the disk home. As I said at the start of this thread, I'd hate to be him. Shouldn't we cut him some slack for taking the data home, maybe to work on his own time? I bet he was under the gun to get some project or other done, especially if he workes at VACO. That place is hell on earth. There's always more to the story. I'm sure he's on paid admin leave. He has due process rights under civil service laws. VA has to pay him right up until they can him.

Just shot off letters to our two U.S. Senators and the U.S. Congressman from this district. We are not happy about this. We don't believe in this kind of coincidence.

Paid or unpaid administrative leave? Are we taxpayers continuing to reward this federal employee for either corrupt or inept behavior?

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OK- he lives in surbuban Maryland per Nicholson-

So either from the VA central Office or maybe Baltimore RO -They are Visn # 5-

This event seems almost absurd-

Unless it is a new version of the St Louis Fire.

I know that sounds nuts but seems to me this is going to be an excuse to stall claims even more-if hard copy was destroyed to prepare this data base on millions of vets and it is only data base around-he took it home on disks-

The VA has enough sense to back up all they have- dont they????

Data on 26.5 million vets on floppys???? sounds like more then just a briefcase full-

Men and women this might be the first time that VA incompetence hits the nation's news outlets!

You all know better then me, when a flank or rear manuever in battle is successful, war theory is to then immediately and ruthlessly exploit the enemy!

This might be one of the best things yet to give vets a voice on the incompetence of the VA that every American can relate to.-potential identity theft.

Edited by Berta
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I just read on the front news section of Yahoo.com that this breach is for VETs who were discharged up to 1976. I left in 87 and I am going to start a fraud alert for my credit.

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I am really concerned now-

At the VA web site vets data page they said in May 2006:

"Of the 24.3 million veterans currently alive, nearly three-quarters served during a war " etc =just some stats on vets ----etc

but this news today involves 26.5 million veterans?

That means all of you doesn't it- and then some-????

That figure in the news today was so high I had to check and sure enough- it seems like every living vet has been affected by this and -as they said-some spouses.(2 million spouses?)

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  • HadIt.com Elder

Now you have to wonder how secure all your medical records are at the VA. How would you like the world to know you have a PTSD diagnosis or you had a STD in service. I doubt that it is some plot but just incompetence and disregard for privacy rights of vets and citizens.

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JESUS H CHRIST...Here we go again with this GODDAMN VA! :mellow:

This DISORGANIZATION needs to be COMPLETELY REVAMPED!

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  • HadIt.com Elder

I was watching the CBS news and they said vets discharged since 1977 were the ones involved. I did not think there were that many vets that were discharged since 77. This whole thing is beginning to stink because the only thing stolen from the VA employee's house was the computer with the Vet records.

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When I worked at the local VARO, I was aware of ONE person that worked from home. There was a push to have more people "Work from Home"...a some sort of Telecommuting Program.

This is UNEXCEPTABLE, and this recent event just supports this!

If the VA want's to catch up on claims, they need to get their lazy asses in gear and start a SWING SHIFT!

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