Wednesday

Identity Thieves Run Rampant


The people dedicated to protecting you, yeah that's right, the FBI, may be easier to steal from than WalMart. Well, maybe not the FBI, but certainly many government agencies are. Take the Veterans Administration, for instance...

The FBI has offered a $25,000 reward for the return of a computer backup hard drive that was found missing from a VA office in Birmingham Alabama in January. Turns out the hard drive wasn't even encrypted and it contains information on 1.8 million patients and physicians nationwide, including social security numbers, names, billing codes, etc. With a red face, the VA admits that the hard drive wsa supposed to have been encrypted but it wasn't. The bozo who was reportedly responsible was put on "leave" and within a few weeks of the January 22nd disappearance the VA gave up looking for the hard drive. No one is talking about why it took them so long to notify the public of this royal foul up.

The whole mess reminds me of the VA computer with 26 million records in it that disappeared in 2006 and turned up months later after a $50,000 reward was posted.

Meanwhile identity theft continues its rise to the top of the heap of criminal activity in the US. The FTC reported that more than 670,000 cases of fraud and identity theft were reported by consumers in 2006. The total damage is estimated at $1.2 Billion. And it's no wonder, after you look at how lousy a job our own government is at protecting the private data it keeps on all of us.
For tips of preventing identity theft, and help if it's happened to you, check out our web site page, Identity Theft is Fraud.