If you are a veteran you need to start treating your VA card like your Social Security card. When you don't have anything on your calendar requiring it - like an appointment at the VA - leave it at home. An ABC News affiliate in Florida has discovered that every single VA card issued since 2004 contains the Social Security number of the person the card was issued to in a bar-code on the front of the card. More importantly, the bar code can be deciphered by anyone who has a free bar-code-reader on their smart phone.
According to the report, the VA has known about this issue for years but has failed to correct it. And they haven't been proactively notifying veterans about the issue. They claim to be working on a new generation of their card but it will not be available until sometime next year.
Any veteran who has lost their VA card should be concerned. Not only could they be subject to financial identity theft but it is also possible that they could be targeted for healthcare ID theft. That's because the VA handles both medical and retirement benefits for veterans.
At ACCESS, we haven't seen this reported on a national basis but we believe that it should be.
Jim Malmberg, Executive Director of American Consumer Credit Education Support Services, (ACCESS) a non-profit, tax exempt 501(c)(3) consumer advocacy group whose primary purpose is to disseminate credit education information and assistance to the public, visit www.GuardMyCreditFile.org
Below, you will find the video report out of Florida.