AND IF YOU ARE A VETERAN, YOU'VE BEEN COMPROMISED TOO! Yesterday, the inevitable became reality. I received my offical notification letter from the Veteran's Administration that my personal information was among that of well over 26 million veterans that the VA allowed to be pilfered from their control (my description, not their's).
The number of questions I have about this are countless, not the least of which is "Why was the bonehead responsible for allowing this to occur only given a "paid suspension" /"Paid Vacation?" (again, my description....certainly not their's) He should have been fired immediately. To be fair, this longtime VA employee claimed he had taken the information home as part of a project he was working on. (can you say "SECURITY VIOLATION?") He then said it was stolen during a breakin at his home. Why was he allowed to remove that disc with all that information from the VA offices? That isn't supposed to happen, but it did. And why did they wait so long to inform everyone of the problem? Who knows, but I bet the phrase "cover our asses" has been uttered in hushed tones quite a bit in recent months at the VA.
As I read that letter yesterday, you can imagine my anger and my blood pressure rising. Then it occured to me that I hadn't heard much about this in the media or from our elected leaders. Hmmm! Where's the media? Oh that's right....they are too busy telling us how badly things are going in Iraq and what a horrible President George Bush is. For that matter, where are our elected leaders? The Pilosi's, Reid's, Kerry's, and Kennedy's? Oh, I forgot, they're too busy watching Al Gore's global warming movie over and over again dreaming of the day when the man who was almost President might actually run for office again. And the republican leadership? All most of them seem to care about lately is posturing to see who can be the first to give amnesty to illegal aliens. Thanks Senator McCain and Senator Frist. Thanks for your support.
Everyday, I go to work, I watch and observe the world around me, and I sit in front of this keyboard thinking that there's nothing that could be said or done that could possibly be goofier that the things I might've seen or heard the day before. Then here it comes.....all the VA administrators initially could say is "he broke policy and has been put on paid suspension," like it was something as simple as violating an office dress code. What they initially refused to say is that this overpaid desk jockey violated security protocols who knows how many times and he finally got caught. They sent him on a paid vacation while they figure out a way to cover their butts..........I call that a real nice way to thank those of us who gave significant portions of our lives to help preserve their bureaucratic way of life. Since the initial reports of their handling of the situation and the outcry from veteran community, they finally instituted proceedings that should end with the termination of the employee responsible, something that should've occurred back on day one.
Bottom line, everyone should protect themselves against identity theft. If your bank offers credit monitoring service, take advantage of it. It could save you a lot of grief down the road. If your bank doesn't offer the service, go to annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. They should be able to help you out. And finally for tips on how to guard against identity theft, the Federal Trade Commision has a webpage with some helpful tips. I'll be making those phone calls first thing Monday morning......I hope you do too.CHECK OUT THE VA'S LATEST WEB POSTING ON THIS ISSUE HERE!
(originally posted 6-16-06 on Yahoo 360)