From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

At Risk for Identity Theft

And What I Think About It... A Short Detour from the Cheerful Ramble...



Due to people abusing our personal information, Dennis and I are now at risk for identity theft.

About six weeks ago, our health insurance company (Aetna) notified us that a laptop computer with data about us and thousands of other people had been stolen. The computer belonged to an Aetna executive who left it in his car in a parking lot as he ran a personal errand one Friday night.

ThiefNow we've received notification from the Veteran's Administration that an unauthorized employee took home electronic data on 26.5 million veterans and their spouses. His house was burglarized and the computer was stolen. Our names and personal information are among the 26.5 million compromised identities on the hard drive.

Both Aetna and the VA attempted a reassuring tone in their notifications. They "have no reason to believe" any identiy thefts will be attempted. They admitted, however, that identity theft is a possibility so they urge us to put a fraud alert on our accounts. I have done this.

Aetna, to their credit, is providing 12 months of free credit monitoring from Experian. I've signed us up for this, and it reports daily on any changes of more than 25% or $200 on a credit card or any new charges made on a card that's been idle for more than a month. I'm also taking the precaution of closing a number of accounts that we don't use.

Ironically, when you close a number of accounts within a short time period, it's said to damage your credit rating, but it doesn't matter much because we won't be applying for any loans anytime soon -- or I should say, we don't plan to.

It angers me that we and millions of other people have to endure this hassle and worry because careless people broke the rules at their workplaces. They really should be sentenced to long terms of community service or maybe even jail time, but I don't suppose anything has happened to them beyond losing their jobs.

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2 comments:

Trixie said...

There have been entirely too many examples of this. How in the world can these employees get by with taking work computers with this kind of information outside of secured areas???
I'm so sorry you've gotten caught in the tangled web. I wonder how many of us are at risk and unaware!

Genevieve said...

I have heard dozens of times about confidential data being compromised and it was always something that happened to other people. Now it's us.

I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. Though everything has been digitized and computerized nowadays, there's still plenty of room for humans to muck up the works. Hopefully, we'll come through it with no farther problems!

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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

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