New resources help Veterans prevent identity theft

MRAN-VIctims638X308Identity theft is a problem in this country, and it’s not going away any time soon. With technology becoming more engrained in our lives each year, our information is more accessible than ever. If it’s not properly protected, criminals can wreak havoc on our financial and personal well-being.  According to Javelin’s 2013 Identity Fraud Report, identity theft occurred in the U.S. once every three seconds in 2013, costing Americans more than $21 billion.

Veterans are not immune to these threats, but there are ways to make it harder for cyber criminals to steal your identity. VA is making a push to give Veterans the knowledge they need to keep identity thieves at bay.

VA’s identity theft prevention campaign, More Than a Number, aims to educate Veterans and their beneficiaries on identity theft prevention. The campaign has two resources that are now available—an informational website  and a toll-free help line: 1-855-578-5492.

The help line, available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8p.m. ET, provides Veterans and their families a more personalized platform to find assistance and information on identity theft. The More Than a Number website houses identity theft prevention tips, next steps for identity theft victims, interactive media and links to some of the best identity theft prevention resources on the Web. Visitors to the site can also learn about some major initiatives that VA is using to help protect Veterans’ identities.

Don’t wait until it is too late to protect yourself from identity theft! Visit the More Than a Number website, or call the help line to take charge in safeguarding your identity.

Lowe, Stan-bw-frame

Stanley F. Lowe is the Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Security. Under Lowe’s direction, VA’s Office of Information Security works to prevent and mitigate the impact of any impending threats to VA’s IT infrastructure. He oversees the management of VA’s information security officers, cyber security program, privacy program, incident management and response capabilities, security operations, and business continuity efforts.

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5 Comments to “New resources help Veterans prevent identity theft”

  1. is there a program that veterans can join that would help them stop or even and shore them from identity theft?

  2. Sharon says:

    I just spoke to someone at the VA . I have had the same Social Security number since I was 15. And I shared my concern that someone may have stolen my identity. They reassured me that it wasn’t. Thank you for your time.

  3. Paul D. Conley says:

    There are problems within the VA when it comes to the use of Social Security Numbers! There are Veterans using other veterans Social Security numbers, and VA Claim numbers! When reported, little action has been taken to correct the situation! The fear within the VA is that the cry of identity thrift will cause some type of retaliation against a VA employee, if they are wrong! I had a case of a recent veteran’s death that lead to the discovery that my veteran had the correct Social Security number but that another veteran was identified using the same Social Security number, but with a different name, not even a similar name! Plus my veteran’s VA Claim number was assigned to same unidentified individual! I am still working with the true veteran’s widow to aid her in obtaining her veterans DIC benefits! My immediate situation was finally acted upon by a VA employee who checked with Social Security and discovered the information I provided was correct! As to action awaiting the veteran using my veteran’s ID I will find out soon!

    • Stan Lowe says:

      Mr. Conley,

      I would encourage you to contact the VA’s Inspector General if you believe there is wrongdoing occurring. http://www.va.gov/oig/hotline/default.asp

      I assure you I take the protection of our veterans data seriously, thank you for your service and for assisting our fellow veterans.

      Regards,

      Stan Lowe
      Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Security
      U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

  4. Dear Mr. Bechtol:

    VA has a program in place called the Identity Fraud Monitoring, Verification and Mitigation Program. As a part of this program – at no charge to Veterans – VA runs the identifying information of all Veterans stored in its benefits database through a quarterly scan for any signs of identity theft risk. If the scan detects that any fraudulent transactions may have taken place using a Veteran’s identifying information, that Veteran is sent a notification letter with information detailing how to respond (including obtaining a free credit report and placing fraud alerts on any compromised accounts). If you have not received a notification letter from VA (and your address data with VA is up-to-date), then you can be assured that your personal data is not at risk. If you have any other questions concerning identity theft prevention strategies, visit our “More Than a Number” website at http://www.va.gov/identitytheft.

    Thank you for your service.

    Sincerely,
    Office of Information Security
    U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs