As a parent to a military guy, whenever my son was off to the great war, I used to wear his spare ID tag to keep him close to my heart and prays. One day, I was toying with the tag and happen to glance down at the inscription. That’s when I saw his social security number on it and immediately thought, “not cool.”
What if I lost the tag? What if the clasp on the chain came undone and the tag fell off? I removed the tag and put it away safely out of sight and protected from being lost. Apparently, someone at the military has come to a similar conclusion and the ID tags will no longer carry service members’ social security numbers effective May 2010.
According to a recent report, usage of service members’ social security numbers are at even greater risk than being inscribed on the ID tags.
At bases and outposts at home and around the world, military personnel continue to use their Social Security numbers as personal identifiers in dozens of everyday settings, from filling out health forms to checking out basketballs at the gym. Thousands of soldiers in Iraq even stencil the last four digits onto their laundry bags.
All of this is putting members of the military at heightened risk for identity theft.
That is the conclusion of a scathing new report written by an Army intelligence officer turned West Point professor, Lt. Col. Gregory Conti. The report concludes that the military needs to rid itself of a practice that has been widespread since the 1960s. [….]