Allen B. West

New threats for vets: ID theft

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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.”

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At a time when we are witnessing serious concerns about the security of private information on, 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.

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