Washington Attorney General and credit freeze program - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Washington Attorney General and credit freeze program

KENNEWICK, Wash. - Names, social security numbers, addresses and phone numbers of millions of United States Veterans are in the wrong hands after a department worker brought home a laptop computer with veterans personal information on it.

The Washington Attorney General started a credit freeze program for any worried veterans. 

If you are one of the millions whose information was on the stolen computer you may have received a letter that explained what happened. 

Through the credit freeze program you can prevent someone from opening an account or loan in your name.

Stephen Prince, a local Veteran Service Representative said, "It's something that shouldn't have happened. Security measures need to be updated that's like closing the barn door after the horse got out. They should have been better to start with." 

Attorney General Rob McKenna has created a program to help the 575,000 people in Washington whose information was on the stolen computer.  He said, "It's not a step to be taken lightly on the other hand it's the only sure fire way to prevent an identity thief from using your information to open new lines of credit." 

There are some drawbacks to freezing your credit.  You would not be allowed to open new credit while the freeze is in place.

A local veteran service representative encourages Veterans to watch their finances.  He said, "It's nothing that everyone should go paranoid about.  Watch your back, you bet, and we're used to doing that.  Police yourself, watch your own stuff and veterans are pretty good at that."  Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation.

The Attorney General said there has been no reported identity theft victims as a result of this laptop being stolen, but said anyone effected should monitor their accounts very closely.  If you are interested in freezing your credit, go to our website kndu.com.  We have a link set up to the State Attorney General's office.