VA cards put veterans at risk, scanners reveal social security numbers

Veterans say no one told them about risk

Anyone with a smart phone and a bar code app can scan any VA identification card issued since 2004 and the cardholders' social security number immediately pops up on the screen. 

Tampa businessman and Army veteran Barry Landau wants answers.

"I didn't think that was possible." Landau said. 

"The card is absolutely no good."

The I-Team found the VA published warnings about the veterans information or VIC cards on their website back in 2011 and in July of this year. 

The alert states that "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."

Thirty year Navy veteran Walt Raysick who holds a leadership position with the American Legion, says that the VA failed to alert him of the card's vulnerability.

"That's my social security number. That's terrible." Raysick said.

No one from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would go on camera to answer questions. 

A spokesperson for the VA did respond saying that they've begun work on the next generation ID card which will not contain a social security number. 

However it's not being rolled out until next year.

Dave Braun, Co-Chairman of the Veterans Memorial Park Museum Committee, said the VA should have done more to get the word out about the risk of identity theft if one these cards is lost or stolen.

"Where is the distribution to notify everyone?"  Braun said.  "They are not telling anyone about it."

Congressmen Gus Bilirakis, Vice Chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, said that it is, "…unacceptable that nothing more immediate has been done to rectify this issue…The VA should take all precautions to make sure this information is protected."

Meanwhile, veterans should treat their current ID cards as they do their social security card and leave home with out it, unless it is needed for a day-of appointment.

Print this article Back to Top