New threats for vets: ID theft

WFTS Action News

It was General George Washington who said, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”

Thanks to Jackie Callaway at ABC Action News in Tampa, Florida we’re once again reminded of how the current administration is failing our nation’s greatest treasure, its veterans.

According to Callaway’s report, “anyone with a smart phone and a bar code app can scan any VA identification card issued since 2004 and the cardholders’ social security number immediately pops up on the screen.”

At a time when we are witnessing serious concerns about the security of private information on healthcare.gov, this is just another hard blow. And those of us who reside in the state of Florida know very well the dangers of identity fraud.

Calloway reports:

The VA published warnings about the veterans information or VIC cards on their website back in 2011 and in July of this year. The alert states that “Some barcode readers, including those available as applications on cell phones, can scan the bar code on the front of the card, and reveal the veteran’s social security number.”

No one from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would go on camera to answer questions. A spokesperson for the VA did respond saying that they’ve begun work on the next generation ID card which will not contain a social security number. However it’s not being rolled out until next year.

My former colleague and Florida Congressmen Gus Bilirakis, Vice Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said that it is, “…unacceptable that nothing more immediate has been done to rectify this issue…The VA should take all precautions to make sure this information is protected.”

If you’re a veteran in possession of a VIC (Veterans Administration Identification Card) please take heed and protect this card like it’s a social security card. If you don’t need to take it out of the home, then don’t. Personal security just doesn’t seem to be a primary concern for the Obama administration. However, we owe better to our veterans. If you’ve experienced this problem, please let us know, but also report it to your local news and VA offices.

God bless our men and women who have given this nation so very much, our heroes, our veterans. Merry Christmas.

23 COMMENTS

  1. Agreed. But how is that different from carrying a Social Security Card in your wallet? The vets should not to let anyone take photocopies of their cards.

      • It’s amazing how many people will, like robots, give their numbers to whomever asks…and it is not necessary!
        Just because there is a space there to fill in your SS # doesn’t mean you have to!
        Even your own bank personal banks don’t insist on more than your last 4 numbers to verify your identity!!

    • No reason to have SS card in wallet. Leave it in safety deposit box. I have never been asked to show Social Security card. Never. Not once. Not even to join the service, not to apply for SS, to get passport.

    • They have too, My husband had to show it for all medical services and anything he wants to get etc. Much paperwork that you don’t know who sees when you have to send all this stuff in to get benefits and get in the va home and hsp

    • NEVER, NEVER, NEVER carry your SS card in your wallet! (Just imagine, if your wallet is lost or stolen complete with credit cards and SS card, they have all the info. to steal your identity!) People who have a “need to know”, only need your SS NUMBER and don’t, as a rule, require you to produce a card! Your SS card can not be used for ID..says so on the card…leave it home! If you are asked for your SS # and you are in doubt, say ‘NO”, and offer to give them the last 4 numbers. If they are legit, they will accept that!
      It is really OKAY and SMART to protect your privacy. Stop giving numbers out…just because someone asks..just say, “I’d rather not”..and they back down!

  2. Thx for the heads up Col. These are serious issues. And it takes serious ppl to solve them. Where are the serious ppl in charge? Their all a bunch of partiers.

    “SWEEP OUT THE DEADWOOD IN WASHINGTON NOW!!!!”

  3. So what is the fix? This is a serious issue that I was unaware of. I certainly hope that the VA is trying to fix this problem and I for one hope they do not hire a Canadian firm like the Obamacare site did.

  4. health care dot gov the biggest Id theft opportunity out there. Any body who signs up is just handing over any and all info to hackers.

  5. Tried this on my VA card and, sure as hell, my SSN pops right up on the screen. This is typical of the government. They probably spent a ton of money for scanners and the application that would enter your social security number into the computer.

  6. get a grip West. The cards were came out in the Bush Administration- grow-up and admit you were requested to retire in lieu of full court martial. Why doesn’t your foundation mention about the violence you inflicted on a suspect- you attempted to rationalize it but failed with your peers noting you violated the UCMJ. Stop blaming the current administration for everything. You did not get re-elected for a reason.

    • I am sure General West joined the military way before Bush ever thought about becoming president. If you do not like what he has done for your freedom and for all Americans, maybe you should find some other country to live in that share your ignorant attitude. I got my card in 2012, same problem. This is an issue for ALL VETS not just General West.

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