DoD to Inform Servicemembers of Data Loss on Pay Statements
By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 12, 2006 The Defense Department will inform servicemembers who could be affected by the May theft of personal data from the Department of Veterans Affairs through their monthly pay statements, a DoD spokesman said here today.
DoD is in the middle of an analysis to determine how many active-duty, Reserve and National Guard servicemembers could be affected by the data loss, which occurred when a VA employee loaded personal data onto a laptop, which was then stolen from his home, Army Lt. Col. Jeremy Martin said. The VA initially reported that the data stolen included personal information on as many as 26.5 million veterans, and later updated the report to include as many as 1.1 million active-duty servicemembers, 430,000 National Guardsmen, and 645,000 members of the Reserves as possible victims.
These numbers are preliminary, as the DoD and VA are still working to determine exactly what data was on the laptop.
When the analysis is completed in upcoming weeks, the Defense Finance and Accounting Service will inform those servicemembers who are determined to be vulnerable by putting a note on the bottom of their monthly leave and earnings statements, Martin said. The note will include phone numbers and Web sites that will provide more information on identity theft and what troops can do to protect themselves, he said.
The VA has set up a special Web site and a toll-free telephone number for those possibly affected by the data loss: www.firstgov.gov and 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636). Each features up-to-date news and information on the data compromise. The Web site provides steps on how to check credit reports, how to guard against identity theft, and who to call if an individual believes any fraudulent activity is occurring with his or her personal information.
Information relating to the defeat of identity theft also is available at the Military OneSource Web site, at www.militaryonesource.com.