Tag: VA

VA Notifies Veterans of Compromised Personal Information

Hackers attempted to reroute medical payments from the VA, exposing information of 46,000 Veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Office of Management today announced a data breach involving the personal information of approximately 46,000 Veterans and actions taken by the department to prevent and mitigate any potential harm to those individuals. 

The Financial Services Center (FSC) determined one of its online applications was accessed by unauthorized users to divert payments to community health care providers for the­ medical treatment of Veterans.

The FSC took the application offline and reported the breach to VA’s Privacy Office.

A preliminary review indicates these unauthorized users gained access to the application to change financial information and divert payments from VA by using social engineering techniques and exploiting authentication protocols.

To prevent any future improper access to and modification of information, system access will not be reenabled until a comprehensive security review is completed by the VA Office of Information Technology. 

To protect these Veterans, the FSC is alerting the affected individuals, including the next-of-kin of those who are deceased, of the potential risk to their personal information.

The department is also offering access to credit monitoring services, at no cost, to those whose social security numbers may have been compromised. 

Veterans whose information was involved are advised to follow the instructions in the letter to protect their data.

There is no action needed from Veterans if they did not receive an alert by mail, as their personal information was not involved in the incident. 

Veterans or Veteran next-of-kin that receive notification their information is potentially at risk from this incident can direct specific questions to the FSC Customer Help Desk to VAFSCVeteransSupport@va.gov or writing to VA FSC Help Desk, Attn: Customer Engagement Center, .P.O. Box 149971, Austin, TX 78714-9971. 

Blogs to Follow:

VA.gov (September 2020)  VA notifies Veterans of compromised personal information

Mother of Navy veteran who committed suicide files $8.2 million claim against the VA

In April of 2019, Navy veteran Gary Pressley shot himself in the chest, which ended his life due to the extreme pain he was in, according to legal documents 13WMAZ obtained. As a result, Pressley’s mother, Rhonda Machelle Wilson, has filed a claim against the VA for more than $8.2 million.

Pressley served in the US Navy and was medically discharged in 2012 after a car accident.

13WMAZ reports:

“I just wish that they would have found him and stopped him, locked him up, did what they had to do,” Wilson said.

Back in 2019, 28-year-old Gary Pressley died by suicide after shooting himself in the chest in the parking lot of the Carl Vinson VA Medical Center, in Dublin, Ga.

Documents 13WMAZ obtained say he left a suicide note saying, “This is what happens by punishing already-suffering people.” The back of the note said, “Thank you for the release.”

“It was just a battle with the medication, the doctors — I mean, I watched him cry,” Wilson said. 

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His sister, Lisa Johnson, said she called the Veterans Affairs Department to report that her brother was threatening suicide just moments before he killed himself, 13WMAZ reported.

After watching her son lose his life, Rhonda Wilson filed a wrongful death claim against the Veterans Administration for $8,250,006. One document says the VA referred Pressley to a pain specialist in Stockbridge who got his pain under control, but the doctor stopped treating veterans because the VA owed her hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Currently, I’m dealing with four of these different cases actively,” Attorney Peter Bertling said. 

Read more at 13WMAZ.com.

13WMAZ.com (February, 2020) Mom of veteran who committed suicide files $8.2 million claim against the VA

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