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October 06, 2009

Potential data breach at National Archives puts 70 million veterans at risk of identity theft

The inspector general of the National Archives and Records Administration is investigating a potential data breach which puts the identities of 70 million veterans at risk.  Apparently, the agency sent a defective hard drive back to its vendor for repair without first destroying the data it contained.  The vendor determined that the drive was faulty and sent it out for recycling, with the records of approximately 70 million veterans still on it. 

The AWOL hard drive, reportedly worth approximately $2,000, is now worth millions, possibly billions, to an identity thief.  The hard drive should have been destroyed and should never have left the hands of the government agency.

I assume the agency will alert the 70 million veterans put at risk that their identities may be compromised but I have not seen that in writing anywhere.  If any of you can confirm that the government is alerting the veterans that they are at risk, please let me know.  If any of you can send me a copy of the letter from the government regarding the breach (with the veteran's name and other personal identifiers redacted, of course), that would be great.  Also, veterans at risk, please read the other posts on my site for what I hope to be helpful advice in discovering and countering any theft of your identity.  And, as always, contact me via, if you need my help or advice.

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