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Smartphone users can access veterans' Social Security numbers

Smartphone users can access veterans' Social Security numbers
Smartphone users can access veterans' Social Security numbers
Disabled American Veteran photo/released

Early last month it was brought to the attention of many U.S. military veterans that their Social Security numbers are embedded in a bar code on their VIC, or Veteran’s Identification Cards, and can be clearly seen by scanning the card with a smartphone.

The ease of which these numbers can be obtained has veterans worried.

Although veterans say they were never told about the information being so easily obtained, the Veteran’s own website contains this information:

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides eligible Veterans a Veterans Identification Card (VIC) for use at VA Medical Facilities. The VIC protects the privacy of Veterans' sensitive information, as it no longer displays the Social Security Number or Date of Birth on the front of the card.

The VIC will only display the Veteran's name, picture, and special eligibility indicators - Service Connected, Purple Heart and Former POW, if applicable, on the front of the card. Only Veterans who are eligible for VA medical benefits will receive the card.

ABC News video here:

While it was not mentioned in the original release, it’s highly likely that stores such as Lowes, that give “veteran discounts” might also be scanning the Social Security numbers into their systems with every purchase.

Veterans are warned to keep their VIC safe and secure. Lost or stolen cards open the threat of identity theft. Reportedly, the VIC cards are getting a makeover, due out this year.

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