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Veterans offered identity theft prevention workshops

The Departments of Consumer and Veterans Affairs are teaming up to hold identity theft prevention workshops for veterans throughout the state this week. The seminars come in the wake of the theft of personal data from millions of veterans and active duty military personnel last month. KPBS reporter Amy Isackson has details.

The information was stored on a laptop a Veterans Affairs employee took to his Maryland home. Burglars stole the computer. And along with it the names, social security numbers and birth dates of more than two-million National Guard and Reserve personnel and more than 26 million veterans.

Department of Consumer Affairs Spokesman Russ Heirmerich says it's the largest breech of social security numbers that he's aware of. He says those numbers are key for identity thieves. But he says people can take simple steps to protect themselves.

What we're recommending right now is that people place a fraud alert at the very least on their credit and to monitor their credit report.

Meanwhile, Maryland police believe thieves stole the computer to sell it, not to use the sensitive information it contained.

Two workshops for veterans will be held in San Diego this Friday. Amy Isackson, KPBS News.

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