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If I were a criminal I would wait until 2008 to start stealing.

I guess that a lifetime of effects from Agent Orange and disrespect are only worth a year of credit monitoring.

That’s fair.*

WASHINGTON — As many as 17.5 million veterans whose personal information was stolen last month will receive a year’s worth of credit monitoring paid for by the government, Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson said Wednesday.

There’s no indication that the data have been misused, but the veterans deserve “peace of mind,” Nicholson said. “Free credit monitoring will help safeguard those who may be affected.”

Nicholson said the VA also will hire a company to study the stolen database and watch for broad patterns of misuse.

On May 3, thieves took a laptop computer and external hard drive that held as many as 26.5 million names, birthdates and, in about 17.5 million cases, Social Security numbers from a VA data analyst’s home. Besides former servicemembers, as many as 1.1 million active-duty troops and nearly 1.1 million National Guard and Reserve personnel may be affected.

The credit monitoring service will be offered to vets whose Social Security numbers may have been in the stolen data.

The VA will take bids from credit monitoring companies this week, Nicholson said. Veterans who want their credit records monitored for unauthorized use must enroll and will be mailed instructions and access codes by mid-August, he said.

“It’s about time,” said Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Filner has criticized the VA for the pace of its response to the data theft. The department did not disclose it publicly for 19 days.

Filner called the decision to provide free credit monitoring “a giant step forward” and urged the VA to evaluate the service to ensure it’s effective.

Veterans groups applauded the move but also agreed it took too long. “We wish it could have happened earlier in the process,” said Joe Davis, spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Davis said the government should not finance the credit monitoring by raiding veterans benefits.

Nicholson said the funding “will not come out of other VA programs.”

The VA has spent $7 million to send letters to veterans who might be affected and another $7 million to operate a call center to answer their questions. VA spokesman Matthew Burns said the call center costs $200,000 a day.

Businesses and government agencies have reported several large cases of theft of personal and financial data this year. Hotels.com offered 243,000 customers free credit monitoring after an auditor’s laptop was stolen. 


Posted by SPN on 06/24 at 09:26 AM in Justice / Injustice

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