Free credit monitoring announced for veterans

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Free credit monitoring announced for veterans

VA Secretary Jim Nicholson announced today (Wednesday) that veterans will have free credit monitoring made available to them, should they choose to utilize the service.

“This is a tremendous move by the administration which should put minds at ease. I fully support providing this service at no cost to our veterans. The VA is responsible for the data breach and it should be responsible for providing services to correct it. But it won’t be free to taxpayers. It will cost millions of dollars to continue this effort,” said Craig.

The Associated Press reports that VA has spent $14 million so far and is spending an additional $200,000 a day to maintain a call center for veterans concerned about the data theft.

The Secretary has informed Congress that VA will pay for these services in the short term by utilizing carry-over money the agency has, and he and his staff are working with the White House and Congress on how the program will be paid for over the long term…

     

“The other changes Secretary Nicholson has made hiring a former prosecutor as a Special Advisor for Information Security and mandatory training and awareness for all VA personnel by June 30 are all steps in the right direction to protect veterans,” Craig said.

In addition to the move by the Bush administration, U.S. Senators George Allen (R-VA), Larry Craig (R-ID) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) have offered an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill (S. 2766) to require VA to provide free credit monitoring and identity protection for veterans.

Today Senator Allen, the main sponsor the amendment, clarified the language in the bill to ensure that while the government may negotiate a low fixed price for these credit check/ monitoring services, the final cost will be paid for in-full by the federal government and not by individual veterans. U.S. Senators Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Conrad Burns (R-MT) signed on as cosponsors of the amendment today.

“As I have said from the start of this issue, we will ensure that veterans are kept whole financially,” Craig said. “The bigger solution will be to protect all Americans from identity fraud. Each year millions of Americans are impacted by identity fraud, so we must take large steps to ensure that each of us receives greater protection. More steps will yet be taken. Stay tuned.”


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