N.C. Veterans Among Millions Whose Personal Info Stolen
Posted May 23, 2006 6:21 a.m. EDT
FAYTETTEVILLE, N.C. — One person's mistake has millions of veterans across the United States on edge.
Authorities say a Veterans Affairs employee broke the rules and took a certain computer disk home. Apparently, thieves broke into that person's home and stole the disk. It's not clear, however, if the thieves even knew what they were taking.
Either way, that disk has the names, birth dates, and Social Security numbers of 26.5 million veterans who retired after 1976. About 775,000 of them live in North Carolina.
"You don't need to have that kind of stuff scattered all over the place," retired Army Sgt. Maj. Paul Scott said. "You don't feel secure, I mean, the security and privacy is gone."
Scott retired in the 1980s, so, he assumes his name is on that disk.
Another retired veteran, Nolan Bowling, left the service before 1976. So, he should be fine. But, for a minute there, he held his breath too.
"Well, yeah, everybody was (nervous), I think," Bowling said.
Authorities are warning veterans. U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes advises them to watch their bank accounts and bills. State Attorney General Roy Cooper advises veterans to call one of the nation's three credit bureaus to ask for fraud alerts.
Identity theft can happen to anyone. Last year, more than 5,800 people in North Carolina reported some form of identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Charlotte reported the most cases with more than 800, followed by Raleigh, Greensboro, Durham and Fayetteville.