SIGNIFICANCE OF LATEST VA DATA LOSS
The VA did it again in Alabama, losing a computer hard drive housing personal information on 1.8 million veteran patients and doctors. ConsumerAffairs.com reports that the hard drive was identified as lost on Jan. 22 but, in keeping with VA practices, was not reported. The information included Social Security numbers for the patients, as well as Medicare billing codes for the doctors. Just another example of an incompetent Government, you might say. I won’t argue with that, but that’s not the end of the story. On December 13, 2006, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse Chronology of Data Breaches announced the 100 million mark in personal records lost. Barely two months later, and incorporating the latest VA incident, there are 52 more breaches representing 3.6 million additional records lost. The ID theft issue is not getting better, it continues to grow at an alarming rate. Sure, the number of victims was down in 2006, and there is a reason. The heat was on so the sophisticated crooks went underground until it’s safe to proceed. Keep your eyes open for a banner year in 2007 for identity theft victims, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.