Thanks VA: Vet ID Cards Easily Scanned with Cell Phones

VA ID Cards

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.” reported:

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

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  1. ***PLEASE READ***
    (see attached forwarded email)
    So I was thinking this whole scanning of your VA ID card MUST be a hoax…so on my smartphone, I downloaded a “barcode scanner” and scanned the barcode on MY VA ID card…immediately, a 9 digit number popped up…sure enough that 9 digit number WAS, in fact, my FULL SOCIAL!!!!!!!!
    Thank you to Ben Krause with for exposing this to our nations Veterans!!
    Please share this with all of the veterans you may know to help spread the word! 
    I’m here to finish a job no one ever started…
    There is the right way, the wrong way, and the Marine Corps way.
    Semper Fi!

    Ben Lowe

  2. I would suggest cutting up a pop can and making an aluminum cover for it, if you are genuinely concerned. Fold over the sharp edges when you make it. We don’t want a cut finger, and have to visit the VA one day when we try to retrieve it from our back pocket to show a fellow Vet the phone trick! They might deny what you claim you were doing when the event occurred anyway.
    … kind of makes me wonder what can be done by a hacker to those people locking their doors and switching their lights on and off all the time. Just what kind of Surprises could be waiting at home for the unsuspecting family they have? DON’T DO IT JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN. Think first, it should be the American way !

  3. Relax, they can’t scan your card in your wallet. They have to have physical access to it or at least be able to see the bar code with the phone. In other words you have to hand to someone and let them scan it.

    Think you can keep it safe now?

  4. We Veterans should not have to buy “special wallets” for anything that is necessary to have like the fricking V.A. I.D. cards! My doctor Rey Alba at the Martinez, California told me “the system is secure” how in the hell would I ever believe that? The hackers take apart “secure” government computer programs every day, the VA is a fail on medical care and from what I see by the communication with a vast number of United States Military Veterans 99% have issues with the sordid low quality of doctors and PA’s and others that work in the VA Medical Care System! Secure! Not by a long shot…FTVA!
    Cheer for ever: “Hey, Hey VA, how many veterans did you kill today?”

    1. I understand and feel the same angers you have. However, I was just expressing my beliefs on identity theft protection as in the cards you carry in a wallet and what I have done about it. As for VA cards being spied on I don’t believe the VA gave any thought to that when they issued the cards. No one had any idea about the smart phones being able to read the cards until later on when that technology became readily available and quickly wide spread.

  5. No problem here for me. Knowing fully well that this was happening with credit cards I bought an Identity Stronghold wallet for my credit cards, driver license and VA card. I also bought a separate wallet for my passport and my TSA issued Global Entry card. You can also buy IS’s sheathes which are cheaper. Nothing is safe anymore from prying smart phones so one has to be one step ahead in the game. I’m not a paid troll for Identity Stronghold and am only recommending their quality products.

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