Press Release

For Immediate Release
Contact: Melissa Merz
312-814-3118
877-844-5461 (TTY)

mmerz@atg.state.il.us
May 22, 2006

*****CONSUMER ALERT*****CONSUMER ALERT*****

MADIGAN URGES ILLINOIS VETERANS TO KEEP CLOSE WATCH ON FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS FOLLOWING SECURITY BREACH AT VA

Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today urged Illinois veterans concerned about the recent security breach at the United States Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to closely monitor their financial statements and credit reports and to call the hotline established by the federal government for assistance. Madigan said if Illinois veterans feel they need additional help, her office’s Identity Theft Hotline is available.

The VA has announced that the names, social security numbers and dates of birth for up to 26.5 million veterans may have been compromised when a computer holding this information was stolen from an employee’s home. So far the VA has found no evidence of the information being used illegally, but is sending letters to notify veterans of the security breach and has launched an investigation into the incident.

The VA, working with the Federal Trade Commission, has set up a Web site at www.firstgov.gov and a hotline at 1-800-FED-INFO (1-800-333-4636) to provide veterans with information regarding the security breach.

For additional assistance, Madigan’s Identity Theft Hotline offers a dedicated toll-free number staffed by advocates specially trained to help victims repair their credit, dispute fraudulent debts and prevent future victimization. Consumers statewide may call the Identity Theft Hotline by dialing 1-866-999-5630. The TTY number is 1-877-844-5491.

Madigan said that veterans worried about the breach may consider ordering a credit report to check for any suspicious activity, such as new lines of credit being opened in their names. Madigan said her Identity Theft team can help veterans place fraud alerts on their credit reports and educate them about other steps to prevent identity theft.

For more information on identity theft prevention and recovery, please visit Madigan’s Web site at www.IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov/consumers/hotline.html.

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