Guest Author - Gary King
Senator Harkin, Iowa, pushes legislation to protect veterans from identity theft. The bill would provide free credit monitoring to veterans who have been affected by the recent theft of their personal data.
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) today announced he is co-sponsoring the Veterans Identity Protection Act of 2006 to help protect millions of veterans from possible identity theft.
The legislation would specifically provide free credit monitoring for all veterans who have been affected by the recent theft of personal date. Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) revealed that personal information on more than 26 million Americans – most of them veterans—was stolen from the home of a VA employee.
“We must act immediately to help our veterans secure their identity and protect their credit. This security breach has put millions of veterans in jeopardy of identity theft and fraud,” said Harkin. “Given the gravity of the situation, this bill is not an optional course of action, it is a must. We owe this to our veterans.”
The compromised computer files include names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers. In addition, the VA waited 19 days to make public the information about the disclosure, meaning almost three weeks passed before veterans could take the steps necessary to protect themselves.
The legislation would require the VA to provide one year of credit monitoring to each affected person. This will immediately alert an individual to any changes made on their credit report. After that first year, the VA would be required to provide one free credit report to each individual—that’s in addition to the free credit report each year already provided by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This means that, after the first year of credit monitoring, eligible individuals will have access to four free credit reports over the course of two additional years.
We all need to sit up and take notice of what some of our Senators are doing. Senator Harkin's ACTIONS and his stand indicate a strong support for veterans, for Iowa, and for this nation. We all need to stand up and be counted to show Senator Harkin that we know what he is doing and that he does care, when we go to the polls. I like what the Senator is doing on many fronts.