Federal officials are warning every veteran discharged since 1975 to watch financial statements closely after sensitive personal data on all 26.5 million of them was stolen, reports USA Today. Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson said the information was stolen from the home of a department analyst who wasn’t authorized to remove it from the office. Privacy experts say the theft is one of the largest breaches of identity security ever. The stolen data include Social Security numbers and birth dates.
Nicholson said there were no signs criminals have used the data. He said the burglary seemed random. The largest breach in identity security occurred last year when intruders hacked into computers of payments processor CardSystems Solutions, gaining gained access to 40 million credit card account records. That pales in comparison to the potential loss veterans face because the stolen data in this case contain Social Security numbers, said Beth Givens of Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a consumer group based in San Diego.