Dear Veteran: A letter from the VA

Well I finally got a notice from the VA about the data theft in the mail yesterday. This post will consist of the letter in full. The next post will cover the FAQ sheet that was crammed in with the letter. The good news is that they might have my Soc. Sec. #, but at least they don’t have my health records! Repeat after me folks–RESIGNATION!

The letter is as follows:

Dear Veteran:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has recently learned that an emplooyee took home electronic data from the VA, which he was not authorized to do and was in violation of established policies. The employee’s home was burglarized and this data was stolen. The 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 didability ratings. As a result of this incident, information identifiable with you was potentially exposed to others. It is important to note that the affected data did not include any of VA’s electronic health records or any financial information.

Appropriate las enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the VA Inspector General’s office, have launched full-scaled investigations into this matter. Authorities believe it is unlikely the perpetrators targeted the items because of any knowledge of the data contents.

Out of an abundance of caution, however, VA is taking all possible steps to protect and inform our veterans. While you do not need to take any action unless you are aware of suspicious acttivity regarding your personal information, there are many steps you may take to protect against possible identity theft and we wanted you to be aware of these. Specific information is included in the enclosed question and answer sheet. For additional information, the VA has teamed up with the Federal Trade Commission and has a Web site (www.firstgov.gov) with information on this matter or you may call 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636). The call center will operate from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. (EDT), Monday-Saturday, as long as it is needed.

Beware of any phone calls, e-mails, and other communications from incividuals claiming to be from VA or other official sources, asking for you personal information or verification of it. This is often referred to as information solicitation or “phishing.” VA, other government agencies, and other legitimate organizations will not contact you to ask for or to confirm your personal information. If you ceceive such communications, they should be reported to VA at 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636).

We apologize for any inconvenience or concern this situation may cause, but we at VA believe it is important for you to be fully informed of any potential risk resulting from this incident. Again, we want to reassure you we have no evidence that your protected data has been misused. We will keep you apprised of any further developments. The men and women of the VA take our obligation to honor and serve America’s veterans very seriously and we are commited to ensuring that this never happens again.

In accordance with current policy, the Internal Revenue Service has agreed to forward this letter because we do not have current addresses for all affected individuals. The IRS has not disclosed your address or any other tax information to us.

Sincerely yours,
R. James Nicholson

Enclosure

Well there you have it. They want me to believe that they are on top of the game. If that was the case, then it would not have happened to begin with! What really is creepy, is the last line of the letter. I will try to have the FAQ page done tomorrow after I get off work in the morn.

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5 Responses to Dear Veteran: A letter from the VA

  1. I didn’t realize they even had some spouse’s info included in the stolen data as well! Sheesh, so if you’re married, you couldn’t just lock down credit etc under yourself, your spouse would have to do theirs too, to be safe.
    Nice job guys.

    “we are committed to ensuring that this never happens again.”

    Hmm, ensure that veterans records never get stolen again or just ensure that the press never finds out about it and reports it so vets are informed about it?

    “The IRS has not disclosed your address or any other tax information to us.”

    Well that’s good at least. So I guess the VA can’t also let your addresses or other tax information get stolen from them now too. Smart move.

    Though it’s still Bush’s IRS… So he’d have people just as incompetent in charge at the IRS as well(it’s their MO). So I’m sure the IRS can screw that up all by themselves.

  2. Just wait till you see the FAQ sheet Dave.

  3. Ginny in CO says:

    Honest to God Bleeding Heart Liberal here. I would be curious to learn a little more about the employee. There is the assumption that s/he was the inept government employee of the year (unless the DOE person gets it). Or the inept political appointee that could give Brownie’s record a bit of luster.

    My enquiring mind wonders if this was a government employee run so ragged by some political appointee, s/he did something really stupid to get/stay on top of an asisnine work load.

    Told ya I’m a HGBHL.

  4. Walter Vista says:

    Terrible thing but we should be concerned about how old computers are disposed of. If that laptop had been obsolete it would most likely have been autioned off, and nobody would even know the information may fall into wrong hands.

    Millions of old computers out there with information on them.

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