VA reports new data loss

“Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States, and we applaud the VA for implementing a response to protect people potentially affected and to detect attempts to use the lost data to commit fraud,” said Judy Leary, president of Identity Force, in the statement.

Editor's note:This story was updated at 10:25 a.m. Oct. 13. Please go to Corrections & Clarifications to see what has changed.

As another instance of data loss at the Department of Veterans Affairs comes to light, the VA’s Office of the General Counsel (OGC) has awarded a contract to Identity Force for identity theft protection services for more than 5,700 citizens, 660 of whom were veterans.

The number of individuals who enroll in this opt-in program will determine the value of the contract, Identity Force said in a statement.

The contract is the result of a May 8 incident in which a backup data tape was reported missing from the general counsel’s regional office in Indianapolis, Ind., said VA spokeswoman Jo Schuda.

She said the missing data contained mostly legal records dating back to the 1970s. “Along with the legal issues there were attorney work products,” she said. “The data contained entries for any kind of legal cases that the attorneys worked on, not necessarily veterans.’”

The office sent notification letters this summer to as many of the individuals involved as possible, she said. “But they couldn’t find complete addresses for some because of the age of the cases,” Schuda added. About 2,000 of the more than 7,000 individuals were deceased.

“There is no indication any of the affected individuals have suffered problems as a result of this missing tape, but in order to be doubly sure we have also purchased the services of ID Analytics to perform data breach analysis in order to detect any organized misuse of these data,” according to a statement OGC issued today.

Schuda said she did not know if the tape was lost or stolen and whether it has been recovered.

The incident occurred the same month that a VA laptop PC and disks containing personal information on 26.5 million veterans were stolen from an employee’s home. The FBI later recovered the computer with no signs that personal data had been compromised.

In August, a desktop computer containing insurance claims data on about 20,000 veterans who were treated at the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia VA medical centers was stolen from the Unisys office in Reston, Va. Unisys was under contract to track the claims.

As a result of those incidents, VA Secretary Jim Nicholson established the VA information security program, setting standards for accessing information systems and requiring officials to report compliance failures or policy violations immediately. He also ordered annual cybersecurity and privacy awareness training for all VA employees.

Identity Force said that under the terms of the contract, the Framingham, Mass.-based company is providing the following services:

  • Online and toll-free access for individuals to enroll in the Credit Monitoring Services program.
  • Automatic daily monitoring of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit bureau reports.
  • Alerts of any key changes to credit reports.
  • On-demand personal access to credit reports and scores.
  • Dedicated fraud resolution representatives available to counsel and assist victims of identity theft.
  • A $20,000 identity theft insurance policy.

“This contract is a perfect example of how the federal government’s new blanket purchase agreement for identity theft and credit monitoring services helps government agencies develop rapid responses to data losses or security breaches,” she said.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.