$20 Million Settlement for Identity Theft Risk

If you can’t trust your government who can you trust? Find out about this settlement and if you or someone you know is entitled to any part of it.

This story was first brought to you in “Veteran’s What You Should Know About Identity Theft.” Find out how it was resolved.
The Incident:
On May 3, 2006 computer equipment was stolen from the Virginia home of an employee of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recovered the computer equipment on June 28, 2006.
The Risk:
The information on the stolen Department of Veteran’s Affairs employee’s computer included personal information for veteran’s, spouses of veteran’s and military employees including:
-Social security numbers
-Dates of birth
-Disability ratings for some individuals
Reportedly there were no health records or financial records included.
The Rub:
When the FBI recovered the stolen computer, the review of the computer equipment showed that the data had not been assessed. Of course this assurance would not be enough for some individuals who were rightly concerned about the risk of identity theft.
The Court Findings:
The Defendants in this case include the United States Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary and the involved employee of the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.
The court did not find for the Defendants or the Plaintiffs in the case. Instead both agreed to a settlement to resolve the case and provide payments to those directly affected. Legal notices advise that the settlement does not mean that any law was broken and the Defendants deny call claims of wrongdoing in this case..
Well, don’t we all feel better knowing that it is really O.K. for government employees to take home our personal information on a computer and then not even protect the computer from theft?
Who’s Entitled?
A $20 million settlement fund has been established for anny veteran, spouse of a veteran or military employee who had actual damages between May 3, 2006 and February 11, 2009 that were directly related to the computer theft.
Actual damages may include:
-Out of pocket expenses incurred as a direct result of the theft
-Money used to protect or monitor financial information
-Physical symptoms of severe emotional stress
-Purchases of credit monitoring to prevent identity theft
The minimum payment for each valid claim is $75.00 and the maximum payment will be up to $1,500.00 per member as long as fees remain. If there are remaining funds after all fees and claims have been paid, the monies will be donated to the Fisher House Foundation and the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
Claim forms must be accessed at www.VeteransClass..com or 1-888-288-9625 and filed by November 27, 2009.
Of course even if you are qualified to be part of this settlement but you do not wish to agree to the terms of this settlement you must exclude yourself no later than June 29, 2009 and the court will hold a hearing on this case on July 28, 2009.
Readers we’d love to know what you think about this story!
A government employee takes home your personal information, it is stolen and the government agency claims no wrongdoing. How do you feel about these situations and being put at risk for identity theft? What would you have done? Would you accept this class action settlement or no? We’d love to hear your reaction.