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Another Government theft

Enough is enough, when is it going to stop? You would think security would be beefed up, however, two more government laptops containing sensitive personal data is taken.

The sad thing on this theft is that it is the government agency charged with fighting identity theft that had the two laptops taken. The car theft occurred about 10 days ago. This time the managers were immediately notified. It may be safe to assume that someone learned the lesson of not waiting to tell authorities about the theft.

To help those whose data may be compromised the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said it would provide free credit monitoring. The laptop taken from an FTC attorney’s car contained data for 110 people targeted for investigation whose names, addresses, Social Security numbers and in some instances, financial account numbers could be now compromised. Many of these people were being investigated for possible fraud and identity theft per the associate director of the FTC’s Division of Privacy and Identity Theft Protection.

The attorneys had this data because they were the ones who were going to file a lawsuit. It was stated by the FTC that the FTC employees did not violate any security procedures by storing the password-protected laptops in their cars.

Of course the next question is should there be an investigation or revamping of security procedures? The answer was there will be a reassessment of procedures currently in use to make sure that reasonable measures are taken to protect data. That statement does not make me feel secure since it really doesn’t give any specific data as to what will be looked into; we the public do not know what current security procedure is. We do know that current security isn’t keeping the data secure.

Adding this breach of data to the more recent ones adds up to a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars for the government. In all, five government agencies have reported data theft, including the Veterans Affairs Department, which on May 22 acknowledged losing data on up to 26.5 million veterans.

The others include the Agriculture Department where a hacker obtained names, Social Security numbers and photos of 26,000 Washington-area employees and contractors. The Health and Human Services, personal information for nearly 17,000 Medicare beneficiaries may have been compromised in April. This was due to an insurance company employee calling up the data through a hotel computer and then failing to delete the file. At Energy, Social Security numbers and other data for nearly 1,500 people working for the National Nuclear Security Administration may have been compromised when a hacker gained entry to its computer system last fall. Officials said June 12 they had learned only recently of the breach.

The flip side of people knowing who you are and where you live is that they do not know. Each state holds millions of dollars searching for the rightful owner of unclaimed property. Yes, money goes missing by nine out of ten Americans. Would you like to find out if you have unclaimed cash? Simply click here and you will have the chance to do a free money search.

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