VA has failed to sufficiently warn vets that their ID cards are easily scannable to reveal the person’s Social Security Number. Some cell phones can easily scan the cards.
Rather than replace the current cards with versions that protect privacy, VA opted to leave it alone while vets run the risk of identity theft. Over the past three years, VA twice published a warning on their website, but failed to ensure veterans were adequately warned.
New secure cards are not set to roll out until 2014.
According to VA’s most recent alert, “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.”
Anyone with a smartphone and a bar code app can scan any Department of Veterans Affairs identification card issued since 2004 and the cardholder’s Social Security number immediately pops up on the screen. The Department of Veterans Affairs published warnings about the veterans information cards (VICs) on their website in 2011 and again in July, 2013. The alert states, “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.” VA has begun to work on a new type of card, which will not contain a Social Security number. Meanwhile, veterans should treat their current ID cards as just a careful as they do their Social Security card to prevent identity theft.
Warning: VA ID Cards Are Easily Scanned