The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced on Monday that a data breach had compromised approximately 46,000 veterans’ personal information, including social security numbers, according to a news release.
The Financial Services Center (FSC) found that one of its online applications were accessed “by unauthorized users” that diverted payments meant for community health care providers for veterans’ medical treatment, the news release stated.
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The breach was reported to the VA’s Privacy Office and preliminary information indicated that the unauthorized users gained access to the application in order to change financial information and divert payments using “social engineering techniques.”
The VA confirmed system access was disabled to prevent future breaches and to allow the VA Office of Information Technology investigators to execute an extensive security review, according to officials.
The FSC is alerting all individuals who were impacted by the breach via mail, including their next-of-kin for deceased veterans. The VA will also be offering credit monitoring services to those affected, free of charge.
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Veterans who receive the letter are advised to follow the instructions to further protect their data.Any affected veterans or next-of-kin who have further questions can contact the FSC Customer Help Desk at VAFSCVeteransSupport@va.gov or write to VA FSC Help Desk, Attn: Customer Engagement Center, P.O. Box 149971, Austin, TX 78714-9971.