The Department of Veterans Affairs said the personal information of up to 26.5 million veterans was swiped from an employees home.
According to the VA, an employee took home electronic data containing the names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for millions of veterans and some spouses, as well as some disability ratings. The data didnt include any of the VAs electronic health records and financial records.
The announcement, posted May 22 on the VAs home page, indicated that the data was stolen when an employees home was burglarized.
The employee, who has been put on administrative leave pending an investigation, improperly took home the electronic data in violation of the departments policies, said the VA.
The VA said the Federal Bureau of Investigation and VA Inspector Generals office have launched investigations.
“Authorities believe it is unlikely the perpetrators targeted the items because of any knowledge of the data contents,” said the VA.
“It is possible that they remain unaware of the information which they possess or of how to make use of it. However, out of an abundance of caution, the VA is taking all possible steps to protect and inform our veterans.”
In the meantime, the VA said it will send notification letters to affected veterans and create a task force to coordinate a federal response.