Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Getting personal

I hadn't really given the theft of identity data from the VA much thought. Oh, it was an example of bureaucracy at its finest, but those are a dime a dozen. I also wasn't too worried personally, because my service was more than a decade ago and I haven't had any contact with the VA since then.

So it was a bit of a jolt a couple of days ago to get a letter from the VA warning that my name was among the 26 million stolen.

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, since the lost database included information on veterans discharged after 1975. But since I have never used VA services, I sort of assumed my file would be in a dusty backup server somewhere.

I'm not particularly worried, though. There's no evidence that the database has been cracked, for one thing. For another, I've dealt with identity theft before. It's a pain in the butt -- the credit bureau bureaucracies rival the finest government and military organizations for sheer complexity and Catch-22 insanity -- but it's not a life-or-death situation. And the "do not blindly extend credit" notes in my file from the last episode should make it harder for thieves this time around.

As a side note, it's always eery how the Army can track me down, despite years passing and multiple moves. In this particular case they sent the letter out through the IRS, so that's no mystery. But if you ever want to see Army Intelligence in action, just try to hide when the personnel office wants to find you.

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