U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs - 2006

On May 3, data of all American veterans who were discharged since 1975 including names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth and in many cases phone numbers and addresses, were stolen from a VA employee's home. Theft of the laptop and computer storage device included data of 26.5 million veterans. The data did not contain medical or financial information, but may have disability numerical rankings. UPDATE (6/29/06): The stolen laptop computer and the external hard drive were recovered. UPDATE (7/14/06): FBI claims no data had been taken from stolen computer. UPDATE(8/5/06): Two teens were arrested in the theft of the laptop. UPDATE (8/25/06): In an Aug. 25 letter, Secretary Nicholson told veterans of the decision to not offer them credit monitoring services. Rather the VA has contracted with a company to conduct breach analysis to monitor for patterns of misuse. UPDATE (11/23/07): A federal judge questioned the Veterans Affairs Department's computer security and ruled Friday that lawsuits can go forward over the theft of computer equipment containing data on 26.5 million veterans. The lawsuits have been filed as potential class-action cases representing every veteran whose data was released. UPDATE (1/23/09): The Department of Veterans Affairs has agreed to pay $20 million to current and former military personnel to settle a class action lawsuit. UPDATE (6/16/09): No less than $75 will be paid for any valid claim, up to a cap of $1,500. If your expenses were higher than that, you might want to opt out of the class-action portion so you can file for your actual damages. In that case, you need to file a letter so it is received by June 29, 2009. You have until Nov. 27, 2009, to mail your claim form to VA Settlement Claims, P.O. Box 6727, Portland, OR 97228-9767. Be sure to keep a copy of the claim form, along with your proof of mailing. To download the claim form and to get more information, go to www.veteransclass.com. Read the FAQ and note the particulars on out-of-pocket expenses and actual damages. You also can call (888) 288-9625.UDPATE (10/19/12): An investigation into the VA revealed that encryption software has only been installed on 16% of VA computers since the 2006 breach. Six million dollars has been spent on encryption software since the 2006 breach. The investigation began after a 2011 anonymous tip.