Greenwich, CT (PRWEB) August 20, 2014
In step with recent warnings by the U.S. Armed Forces, Veterans Advantage today warned all active and retired military and their families about new and growing privacy concerns that could engender threats to national security.
The warning has been issued due to an increase in the use of military identification cards such as Common Access Cards (CAC) by commercial establishments. While photocopying of any government military ID card is illegal, many commercial establishments will request such proof to verify military status for government rates or "discounts" for services and goods without adequate protocols to ensure they will not be copied or duplicated in any way.
According to Paul W. Bucha, a Medal of Honor Recipient and Data Privacy Advocate, "While the scanning or copying of U.S. military identification cards is a criminal offense and punishable by both fine and imprisonment, its rate of practice in accessing military discounts is increasing. This practice must be stopped," he said.
"Unfortunately, terrorists and hackers also have a strong desire to obtain or copy U.S. military identification in their planning of acts against the U.S. and military, so all present and former military members must be vigilant in protecting their ID cards from such abuse and any fraudulent use," he added.
Scott Higgins, CEO and Co-Founder of Veterans Advantage said that "counterfeiting issues arise because veterans and active duty personnel are receptive to military offers that give 'free discounts.' Moreover, there has been a proliferation of Internet startups that profess to provide retailers online military identification verification, so they may offer 'free' military discounts for veterans. Most are, in reality, 'big data grabs.' They require the scan and upload of sensitive government records to verify eligibility for their discounts, and enter data sharing relationships for profit, further encouraging illegal copying of military IDs," he said.
Since 2011, the heads of all five branches of service, including the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard have issued warnings to their servicemembers that any copying of their Military IDs is illegal due to the increase risk to national security. According to a U.S. Army statement, "There are no safeguards in place to insure a government identification card won't be counterfeited or 'cloned' based on a photocopy by a commercial establishment."
Recent studies by the Veterans Administration and the FTC have reported an increased risk of ID Theft among military and veterans -- by as much as double -- due to poor handling of military IDs in civilian settings and by commercial establishments. Veterans Advantage has previously called on all veterans and military to be extra vigilant in protecting their personal information against ID theft.
Military and Veterans should not provide their Social Security Number, not even the last 4 digits of the SSN, unless there is a government or IRS requirement to do so, and never for a retail discount. They should never permit a retail establishment to make a copy of their ID or upload their ID's online.
"We must be vigilant about our military and personal data and avoid unnecessary disclosure in instances where it may be easily mishandled or stolen and get into the hands of criminals or terrorists," Mr. Higgins said.
"On the heels of recent disclosures that personal data on over one billion individuals – one in seven people on earth –has fallen into the hands of hackers, even the most powerful military on earth is vulnerable, if we don't follow laws established to protect our military and national security," he added.
About Veterans Advantage
Veterans Advantage is the most trusted source for non-government military benefits for those who have served in the U.S Armed Forces and their families, a population of 100 million individuals. For over 14 years, Veterans Advantage has delivered rewards and recognition to the nation's military community through its VetRewards Card, the first secure military ID card built to protect veterans' privacy while offering discounts from leading travel and retail companies, and provided unparalleled group benefits, including pre-paid insurance, financial, and medical coverage. It is rated A+ by the BBB for its outstanding customer service and business practices. For more information, visit VeteransAdvantage.com.
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